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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                          

The Sultanate of Oman

Prisons are not accessible in practice to independent monitors, but former detainees have reported beatings and other abuse.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2020]

Description: Description: Description: Oman

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Oman.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Oman

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 2 August 2021]


In May 2019 Amnesty International reported allegations that authorities physically abused defendants from the al-Shehhi tribe who criticized the government’s policies in the Musandam governorate in order to extract confessions, which resulted in life sentences for the six defendants.


While prison and detention center conditions generally met international standards, there were some allegations of abuse and life-threatening conditions.


The Internal Security Service arrested and detained Ghazi al-Awlaki, a political activist and Omani citizen, for his peaceful activities on social media, human rights observers reported in August. In September observers said that authorities had released al-Awlaki without charge after 50 days in detention.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 15 May 2020]


Prisons are not accessible in practice to independent monitors, but former detainees have reported beatings and other abuse. Online activist Hassan al-Basham, who had been sentenced to three years in prison in 2016 for allegedly using the internet in ways that could be “prejudicial to religious values,” died in custody in 2018 after reportedly being denied medical care.

Oman: Five people held incommunicado

Amnesty International AI, 21 June 2018 -- Index number: MDE 20/8642/2018

[accessed 10 January 2019]

[accessed 10 January 2019]

Since 6 April, Omani authorities have launched a series of arbitrary detentions of individuals from Musandam province. The security forces are currently holding five persons incommunicado and without charges. They are believed to be in the custody of the Internal Security Service in the capital Muscat.

Torture in Oman

Gulf Center for Human Rightsm, 29 Jan 2014

[accessed 5 Feb 2014]

“I thought they were killing Said, and that I was next. I could hear beating and shouting. I didn’t want to die afraid; I wanted to be strong, honourable. I prayed and thought of my parents. I will never forget the sound of the sticks hitting him.” Basimah Al-Rajhi, human rights lawyer, speaking in October 2013.

INTRODUCTION - Torture has become the state’s knee jerk response to political expression. This report documents the arsenal of torture methods in use in Oman including mock execution, beating, hooding, solitary confinement, subjection to extremes of temperature and to constant noise, abuse and humiliation. These practices are allowed to flourish within a culture of arbitrary arrest and detention in secret institutions.


“At the police station I was asked to wait in a room as a senior officer wanted to talk to me. I waited but then six men came into the room, all hooded and carrying guns. They cuffed my hands roughly behind my back, shouting at me and took my glasses, my hat. They placed a long knee length black hood over me….”  Khalfan Al-Badwawi, social activist speaking in October 2013.


All of the male detainees interviewed for the purpose of this report described a similar range of abuses carried out by public officials against them while they were in detention. These include hooding, subjection to loud music played 24 hours a day, sleep deprivation, and exposure to extremes of temperature. Three detainees told GCHR of incidents of kidnapping by security services. One described severe beatings and mock execution.

Hooding is recognized as a form of torture and or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by international and regional human rights bodies. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has stated that hooding in certain circumstances constitutes torture, in particular when used in conjunction with other coercive techniques such as subjection to loud music and extreme temperatures, which occurred in these cases.[20] The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights have also condemned the practice.[21]


Detained human rights defenders were also subject to other forms of ill treatment including prolonged solitary confinement, which can in certain circumstances amount to torture, prolonged interrogation, prolonged handcuffing, verbal abuse and threats.

Several said that they were coerced into signing confessions or into making false statements. One said that his children’s future was threatened unless he ceased his political activities


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 10 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and the government generally respected these provisions in practice; however, there were accusations of police employing unnecessary force to disband protestors and of investigative judges threatening physical harm to uncooperative detainees. The government dismissed or demoted police found guilty of using excessive force.

Freedom House Country Rating - Political Rights: 6   Civil Liberties: 5   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 10 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

The judiciary is not independent. It remains subordinate to the sultan and the Ministry of Justice. Sharia (Islamic law) is the source of all legislation, and Sharia Court Departments within the civil court system are responsible for family-law matters such as divorce and inheritance. In less populated areas, tribal laws and customs are frequently used to adjudicate disputes. Many of the civil liberties guarantees expressed in the basic law have not been implemented.

According to the law, arbitrary arrest and detention are prohibited. In practice, the police are not required to obtain an arrest warrant in advance. Government authorities must obtain court orders to hold suspects in pretrial detention, but the police and security services do not regularly follow these procedures. Prisons are not accessible to independent monitors, and former prisoners report overcrowding. The penal code contains broad and vague provisions for offenses against national security. These charges are prosecuted before the State Security Court, which usually holds proceedings that are closed to the public.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Oman",, [accessed <date>]