Oman: PEN welcomes release of prominent poet Abdullah Habib

PEN welcomes the release of prominent poet and intellectual Abdullah Habib on 13 June 2018, who was serving a six-month prison sentence on politically-motivated charges. Convicted of contempt of religion, spreading hatred, blasphemy, and using the internet to publish material that prejudice religious values or public order, Habib was released under a general amnesty issued by ruler Sultan Qaboos on the occasion of the Eid Al-Fitr.

On 2 April 2018, Habib was arrested following a decision of the Muscat Appeals Court: the court upheld a three-year sentence against him but ruled that only six months were to be served in prison. The remainder of the sentence has been suspended. Habib is prevented from travelling and his passport has not yet been returned to him.


Send appeals:

  • Welcoming the release of poet Abdullah Habib, and calling for the full respect of his right freedom of expression;
  • Calling for Habib’s suspended sentence to be quashed, for his passport to be returned and for the removal of his travel ban;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all other writers currently detained in Oman solely in connection with the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • Urging the Omani authorities to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without delay and reminding them that, in line with the UN’s 1998 Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the government must provide protection to human rights defenders, including against any violence, threats, retaliation or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of the legitimate exercise of their rights.

Appeals to:

Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id
Head of State
Diwan of the Royal Court
The Palace, Muscat 113
Sultanate of Oman
Salutation: Your Majesty

Abdulmalik bin Abdullah Al Khalili, Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Al Khwair – Al Wazarat Street
P.O.Box: Ruwi , 354
Postal Code: Ruwi, 112
Muskat – Sultanate of Oman
Salutation: Your Excellency

Hamoud bin Faisal bin Saeed Al Busaidi, Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
Al Khwair – Al Wazarat Street
Sekat 3415 – Muskat – Sultanate of Oman
Salutation: Your Excellency

It is recommended that you send a copy of your appeals via the diplomatic representative for Oman in your country. Contact details for embassies can be found here

** Please keep us informed of any action you take in regard to Abdullah Habib’s case, including any responses you receive from the authorities.

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