Oman jails 12 more protesters, bringing total to 80

MUSCAT (Reuters) – An Omani court jailed 12 protesters from the coastal city of Sohar for up to three and a half years, a local paper said Wednesday, bringing the total number of people sentenced for taking part in the unrest to 80.

The usually tranquil Gulf Arab sultanate was hit by months of protests in February, following uprisings that toppled rulers in Egypt and Tunisia. Omanis, however, focussed their demands on higher wages, more jobs and an end to graft rather than a change of government.

Security forces in May broke up a sit-in that had lasted for months in Sohar, an industrial city that was the epicentre of demonstrations in Oman. Police cleared road blocks and arrested hundreds on charges of vandalism, though most were pardoned.

The court sentenced two of the protesters to three and half years in jail for “making explosives and throwing them at security forces” the Times of Oman said. Five others were sentenced to two and half years and the rest to one year.

Last month the public prosecutor said 13 protesters were given prison sentences of up to five years for protesting in Sohar. A further 55 people were jailed for up to a year for demonstrating in the eastern town of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali.

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