Primary Court convicts 4 for lèse-majesté

Muscat - 

The Muscat Primary Court in Al Khuwayr on Monday pronounced four persons guilty of lèse majesté, for violating the dignity of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

While Hamoud Saud al Rashdi was handed a six-month prison term for publicly insulting His Majesty the Sultan, the other three - Hamad Abdullah Mubarak al Kharusi, Ali Hilal Ali al Muqbali and Mahmoud Hamed Thani al Rawahi - who were also charged with insulting, abusing and defaming His Majesty the Sultan on the Internet, were sentenced to a year in jail and fined RO200 each.

They were found guilty under Article 126 of the Omani Criminal Law and Articles 16 and 19 of the Cybercrime Law. The court set the bail amount for each of them at RO1,000.

Article 126 of the Omani Criminal Law pertains to the offence of defaming His Majesty the Sultan or his authority publicly.

Article 16 of the Cybercrime Law states that whoever uses the Internet or other technology for taking photographs, spreading news, video or audio recordings about the private life of individuals, even if it is right, or for insulting or defaming others, is liable for punishment.

Article 19 states that using the Internet for spreading or promoting something that affects religious values or the public order is punishable.

Bail procedures for all four have been initiated. Lawyers for the four told Muscat Daily that they are expected to be released on Tuesday.

The hearing was followed by an in-camera session for six detainees charged with offensive writing. Judge Sheikh Said Khamees Ambusaidi presided over the court.

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