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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT770 2005-05-14 07:30:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
Cable title:  

OMAN ONLINE: SHINAS SHOOTING, EQUALITY, AND ARRESTS

Tags:   KPAO SOCI MU 
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1. Summary: The Omani Internet chat rooms "al-Sablah" and "al-
Majarra" are the liveliest and most comprehensive Arabic-language
fora for political and social discourse in the country, touching
on issues and personalities rarely addressed in the conventional
media. While not totally free, nor wholly reflective of Omani
public opinion, these popular sites nevertheless offer a
worthwhile window into the hot topics and unvarnished views of
the day. This edition of Oman Online contains the following
topics:

-- Young Omani Allegedly Killed By Police In Shinas
-- Signing of CEDAW
-- More Arrests?

End summary.



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Police Shooting In Shinas


--------------------------





2. Al-Sablah participants reported an unsubstantiated story out
of Shinas, a port city about 300 km. northwest of Muscat. Local
police allegedly shot a young Omani male, suspected of smuggling,
who had refused to stop for a car inspection. Though the story
has not been independently corroborated, al-Sablah subscribers
reacted strongly: "How can the police shoot a person who is not
carrying a weapon and did not attack them?" Others reported
that, "The tribe of the young man later raided the police station
and beat up the officers," and "The police have orders to arrest
anybody who protests this incident." Another respondent offered,
"The police refused to hand over the dead body to the family, and
the policeman who shot the boy was transferred by helicopter to
Muscat for security reasons." Tensions in the area were reported
to be high; one writer said, "The police and the government are
in chaos, and they don't know what they are doing."



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Reverse Discrimination?


--------------------------





3. A royal decree announcing the signing of the Convention on the
Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) triggered a
discussion on gender equality in the online forum. One
contributor wondered, "Will this mean that there will be equal
opportunities for university enrollment between men and women?
Because everybody knows that females take more university seats
than males." Another claimed, "Women have already taken
opportunities away from men, yet men have more responsibilities
than women." One subscriber warned, "I am scared by the
consequences of signing this convention."



--------------------------


Talk Continues


--------------------------





4. Participants continue to discuss the demonstrations and
arrests (reftel); recent postings are dominated by requests for
information. Some subscribers did identify four military
officers by name -- including a colonel - that had allegedly been
arrested in connection with the demonstrations. Another member
confided, "The police are ready to arrest certain secondary
school teachers as well, but they are waiting for the end of the
school year."

BALTIMORE