MUSCAT, Oman (AP) — An international press freedom organization has criticized Oman for convicting 20 activists, including prominent bloggers, on charges of illegal assembly and of insulting the nation's ruler.
The cases are part of wider crackdowns against protesters and online activists in the Arabian Peninsula country, which has seen growing calls for more political openness after last year's unrest inspired by the Arab Spring.
Reporters Without Borders said Thursday it "vigorously protests" the sentences handed out this week. It also called on Oman to throw out the verdicts.
The group says a dozen activists were sentenced Wednesday to a year in prison for illegal assembly and for defaming the sultan. Eight were imprisoned for a year on Monday for defaming the sultan. All 20 were also fined up to 1,000 riyals ($2,601).