Muscat: An official of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Oman has confirmed that there were deaths of two inmates at the Central prison in Sumayil.
But he denied that the deceased were protesters as being claimed in various social media network.
“The two inmates who died were drug addicts,” Jihad al Taei, Secretary General of NHRC, said during a discussion on Oman Radio after a team from the NHRC visited the Central Prison in Sumayil on Monday morning.
Lawyer for the protesters, Yaqoub Al Harthy, told Gulf News that irrespective of the claim by the NHRC Secretary General, a thorough investigation must be carried out to determine causes of the death of the two inmates.
“It is an issue of basic human rights.”
According to an activist about 100 inmates started a hunger strike last month, demanding a fair trial and their release.
“The activists were lodged with other prisoners, like some criminals, drug addicts and also some imprisoned on charges of treason,” Esmail Al Muqbali, an activist, told Gulf News.
According to him the other inmates joined 30 activists on hunger strike at the Sumayil prison. However, now only about 23 are on hunger strike.
Al Taei expressed his apprehension about the ‘true’ hunger strike, saying that all the inmates looked in good health.
Taken to hospital
However, Al Muqbali said that some of the activists had to be taken to hospitals after their health deteriorated.
“They are being given supplements through liquid,” he added. The NHRC team interviewed about ten inmates during their visit. There are 29 activists lodged in Sumayil on different charges.
Eleven prisoners from Ibri have been sentenced for three years in prison for arson during last year’s violent protests in that followed the peaceful Green March.
Seven prisoners are serving two years and six months for carrying explosive material with them with an intent of arson while seven others are sentenced to five years for forcing government employees to stop work and leave the premises.
Three others were sentenced to six months for blocking road while one from Ja’lan Bani Bu Ali was sent to prison for one year and 3 months.