Qaboos bin Said al Said came to power as a result of a coup status, overthrowing his own father, Sultan Said bin Teymur.
Qaboos’s coming to power was marked by implementation of great economic reforms in the backward country, resulting in Sultanate becoming a developed state with a wide network of roads, a modern healthcare system and decent secondary education nowadays.
However, economic reforms did not affect the political structure of the country, which remains an absolute monarchy, where the basic rights and freedoms of citizens are violated and strict censorship and restrictions for mass media still exist. All printed materials are subject to preliminary censorship, all telephone conversations and communication on the Internet are controlled by the special services.
Criticism of the regime (Sultan) is punishable by criminal law. Independent judicial and legislative power is absent in the country. Appointment of judges is the prerogative of the Sultan, who has absolute immunity.
2011 was marked by an increase in the influence of the security services and the police, the two establishments that most actively pursued critics of the regime. It was a normal practice to torture prisoners and expose them to violence. The Omani National Human Rights Commission justified arrests of activists and their imprisonment.
Since 2012 elections to the Parliament and local authorities are held under the supervision of the special services, forming of political organizations is prohibited and candidates advertise themselves personally.
The authorities of Oman practice a ban on entry of political dissidents who left the country earlier back. Many of the dissidents are on the contrary prohibited to leave.
Years of rule: 1970 – present time;
Official position occupied: Prime Minister;
Official title: Sultan;
Official ideology: Islam, Nationalism;
Unofficial title: —
Quotes and sayings: —
Level of tyranny: Average;
Influence on democracy: Negative;
Results of the reign: Persecution of the opposition, Torture and bullying by the police, Violation of the principles of freedom of speech, Censorship, Penal responsibility for criticism of the Sultan, Violation of LGBT rights, Criminal prosecution for same-sex relations, Prohibition of meetings and assemblies, Corruption, Gender discrimination;
Pros of the reign: Economic reforms, Development of healthcare and education systems, Infrastructural projects, Prohibition of slavery, Adoption of the Constitution, Observance of the rights of religious minorities;
Qaboos bin Said. Brief Chronology of the Reign
Year 1970: Came to power, overthrowing his father, started economic reforms in the country;
Year 2011: Violation of freedom of the press, increased repression by state security agencies;
Year 2012: Repressions against critics of the power, arrests of political activists, restrictions on freedom of the press, censorship;
Year 2013: Continued arrests of political activists, students, journalists and human rights defenders;
Year 2014: Kidnapping of a human rights defender, mass detentions of human rights defenders;
Year 2015: Arrest of a famous poet and producer;
Year 2016: Continuation of the policy of restriction of freedom of speech, Arrests of political activists;
Year 2017: Continued restrictions on freedom of speech, arrests of journalists, refusal of entry for human rights defenders;
Qaboos bin Said. Detailed Timeline Of The Reign
Year 1970: Qaboos came to power, overthrowing his father Sultan Said bin Teymur [The Guardian]
Year 2011: Oman prosecutor’s authority significantly expanded [Bertelsmann Stiftung]
Year 2012: Six Omani citizens were imprisoned and fined $ 2,600 for criticizing the Sultan on the Internet. In just one year, more than thirty Omani citizens were subjected to repression for posting comments and articles about the political situation in the country. [Freedom House]
Twelve Omanis received a year in prison for meeting together. The court assessed the event as "illegal Assembly" [Freedom House]
Year 2014: In August the special services kidnapped writer and human rights activist Mohammed al Fazari. The authorities deny involvement in the kidnapping [Front Line Defenders, 2014]
According to the Global Slavery Index at least 26 thousand people remain enslaved in Oman [The Minderoo Foundation Pty Ltd]
Year 2015: Poet and TV producer Nasser al-Badri arrested for 12 days without trial and any charges [Wikipedia]
Year 2016: The rights of women in Oman are significantly limited in terms of their own health and reproductive rights, besides that, men's rights are legally superior to all women's rights in corresponding situations. [Bertelsmann Stiftung]
Omani court sentenced three journalists to prison for an article on corruption in the judiciary. [Human Rights Watch]
Qaboos bin Said Al Said. Gallery
[Photo: Maher Attar/Sygma via Getty Images]