Omani diplomat-turned-activist dies in jail
DUBAI - An Omani former diplomat, who advocated for prisoners of conscience and was serving time for his online activism, has died in jail, a rights group said Wednesday.
Hassan al-Basham, 52, experienced "a sudden deterioration in his health" as his blood sugar level plunged, the Omani Coalition for Human Rights said.
He passed away on April 28, it said.
Basham had been serving a three-year prison term for charges linked to his online activism, which a court said "might be prejudicial to religious values", the UK-based group added.
It described Basham as "an online activist who has defended prisoners of conscience with his numerous writings".
According to global watchdogs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Basham was found guilty in 2016 on charges including insulting God and Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos.
Amnesty, which highlighted Basham's case in its 2018 global report, could not immediately confirm the circumstances of his death.
Researcher Sima Watling however confirmed that Basham's sentence had been overturned by Oman's High Court in January 2017, "in part due to his ill health", but was reinstated 10 months later.
The Omani Coalition for Human Rights accused prison authorities of failing to provide adequate treatment, and called on Muscat to launch an "immediate, independent" investigation into Basham's death.
It further called for the government to allow human rights defenders to pursue their activities without fear of reprisal.