Oman: Prominent artist released from detention

OmanUpdate #1 to RAN 09/16

PEN International welcomes the release of renowned Omani writer and intellectual Abdullah Habib on 4 May 2016. Habib, 52, was summoned to the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in Muscat on 15 April 2016, where he remained in solitary confinement for 20 days without charges against him. It is thought that his arrest was in connection with a Facebook post he wrote calling for the Omani government to reveal the burial sites of rebels killed during the Dhofar rebellion in the 1960s and 1970s. PEN will continue to monitor Habib’s case. No further action needed at this time.

Thank you to all who participated in the original action.


On the evening of 15 April, Abdullah Habib, a prolific writer, film-maker and intellectual, was summoned by the Omani Internal Security Service (ISS) to appear for investigation before the Special Division of the Omani Police General Command in Muscat. He was detained there until his release on 4 May without access to his lawyer. According to PEN’s information, no charges were brought against him. Although no official reason was given for Habib’s arrest, it was reported that it was likely related to a post he wrote on Facebook in which he called for the Omani government to reveal the location of the bodies of rebels executed during the Dhofar Rebellion, an insurgency which took place in the south of Oman between 1962-1976.

PEN is seeking information as to the current situation of Habib’s close friend, the writer, Suleiman Al-Maamari. Al-Mamari was summoned by the Omani Secret Services on 28 April 2016 and has not been heard from since.

For further information please contact Emma Wadsworth-Jones at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, email:


Oman: prominent artist arrested and detained