Middle East extremists sentenced in Oman

Around 200 supporters of jailed extremists march in Muscat as six defendants are jailed

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By  Rhys Jones Published  May 11, 2005

Oman’s state security court has handed prison terms of between one and 20 years to 31 people accused of belonging to an extremist organisation and plotting to overthrow the government. Six defendants were sentenced to 20 years, 12 people to 10-year terms, while 12 others were given seven years and one was jailed for one year. Up to 200 supporters of the group marched in Muscat last week demanding their acquittal. Judge Hilal bin Hamad Busaidi, who heads the state security court, said the defendants could not appeal the verdict, but could ask for a pardon from Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, within 30 days. The group’s lawyers had said their clients were innocent and that they had merely sought to promote the setting up of Islamic clerical rule in Oman. They said their clients’ possession of weapons was in keeping with Omani norms, and that the worst they could be accused of was holding firearms without a permit. The trial opened two weeks ago after the arrest of the accused in January. The 31 defendants were around 100 suspected extremists arrested across Oman earlier this year, after unconfirmed reports that some had planned to attack events at a popular shopping and cultural festival.

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