17 jailed Oman activists on hunger strike

Updated 10 February 2013
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17 jailed Oman activists on hunger strike

MUSCAT: Seventeen jailed Omani cyber activists have begun a hunger strike in protest against delays in their appeals, local media reported on Sunday.
The activists in Samayl central prison launched a hunger strike on Friday “to protest against what they claimed to be a delay in reviewing their appeal by the Supreme Court,” Times of Oman quoted their lawyer Yaqoob Al-Harthi as saying.
“The activists will only drink water until their demands are met,” Harthi said, adding that the activists’ families had submitted a letter to the Supreme Court demanding a speedier hearing in their cases.
The hunger strikers are accused of “unlawful assembly and violating the Cyber Law and are serving jail terms from six to 18 months,” the daily said.
Several groups of activists are on trial on charges of defaming or using Internet social media networks to insult Sultan Qaboos, who has ruled the Gulf sultanate for 42 years.
The appeals court has so far upheld the jail terms of many activists.
Many others have been tried after taking part in protests demanding political reforms that shook usually calm Oman in 2011.
Riot police used force to disperse the demonstrations, but Sultan Qaboos responded to the unrest by reshuffling the Cabinet and increasing the powers of the consultative assembly.


Gaza officials: 20 Palestinians wounded at Israeli border

Updated 7 min 35 sec ago
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Gaza officials: 20 Palestinians wounded at Israeli border

  • Gaza’s Health Ministry says 20 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli fire along the border fence.
  • A few thousand Palestinians attended Friday’s rally near the border with a few dozen venturing toward the fence.

GAZA CITY: Gaza’s Health Ministry says 20 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli fire along the border fence.
A few thousand Palestinians attended Friday’s rally near the border with a few dozen venturing toward the fence.
Some launched flaming kites at Israel. The devices have destroyed forests and crops and killed animals in recent weeks in Israel.
The militant group Hamas that rules Gaza has led three months of protests that turned violent. Over 120 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
Israel says it is defending its border and nearby communities and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover for attempts to breach the fence and carry out attacks.
Rallies are aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.