An Omani court sentenced four pro-reform activists to jail terms of between six months and a year for defaming Sultan Qaboos, the ruling monarch of Oman, but they were freed on bail pending an appeal.
Hamad al-Kharusi, Ali al-Meqbali and Mahmoud al-Rawahi were sentenced to one year in prison for lese majeste, defaming the sultan, and for "violating the law on cyber crimes," said one of their lawyers, Yaqub al-Kharusi.
Hammoud al-Rashidi was handed a six-month term for the same offence, he told AFP.
“We call for this verdict to be overturned on appeal and we urge the authorities to end their abusive prosecutions of dissidents, who are just exercising their right to impart and receive news and information,” said Reporters Without Borders in their statement.
According to Muscat Daily, they were found guilty under Article 126 of the Omani Criminal Law and Articles 16 and 19 of the Cybercrime Law.
The four defendants were released on bail of 1,000 Omani riyals (2,600 dollars) each pending the appeal.
They are among a group of 36 pro-reform activists that includes bloggers, writers and lawyers arrested for anti-government actions at the start of June. They have all been released, some of them on bail.
Oman was hit by a wave of protests last year demanding political reforms and riot police dispersed the demonstrations with force.
Source: AFP, DCMF