Mohammed Alfazari is an Omani journalist, blogger, political activist and human rights defender Alfazari is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Mowatin (“Citizen”) Magazine, an independent electronic journal founded in June 2013 that discusses news and community events in Oman and the Arabian Gulf. The journal features the diversity of ideas and freedom of expression with a focus on human rights. The magazine serves as a journal for issues that have been silenced by the Omanian press, advocating for the protection of public freedoms in Oman.
Throughout Oman, security forces harass and prosecute activists and critics on vague charges such as insulting the sultan and undermining the prestige of the state. There is a law that penalizes any person who sends, by means of telecommunications system, a message that violates public order or public morals. As a journalist and blogger, Alfazari has been arrested numerous times for his activism. In 2011, he took part in the Arab Spring protest and advocated for democracy, a real parliament with legislative powers, a new contractual constitution, transparency and separation of powers. Throughout 2012 and 2013, al-Farazi faced numerous arbitrary arrests and interrogations, including charges of “insulting the sultan” and engaging in an “illegal gathering”. He was arrested during June 2012 during a roundup of bloggers and activist, holding him in solitary confinement for “gathering with the intent of rioting” and “insulting the Sultan”. He was freed in March 2013 following a royal pardon. Authorities arrested al-Fazari again in 2014 for six days and then released him without charges. Alfazari and his family were stripped of their passports and refused exit from Oman, which violated the Arab Charter on Human Rights of which Oman is a signatory and guarantees the right to freedom of movement.
Mohammed is currently extradited to the United Kingdom. In January 2016, Mowatin published a statement in which it announced that it would stop publishing until further notice because of what it described as “circumstances beyond its control, the most important being the safety of writers and journalists of Mowatin.
Illustration by Anne Di Lillo
To express Mohammed Alfazari’s non-violent protests for freedom of the press through the internet, his portrait trades pixels for petals. Oman is one of the largest distributors of rose water and has huge demand during Ramadan as it is used for preparing the fast-breaking meal. It is also used for sweets, fragrances, and cosmetics.
309,500 km2 (70th)
Unitary parliamentary absolute monarchy