Sultanate of Oman takes newspaper to court over gay story

Gulf state Oman will take court action against a newspaper that published a positive story about LGBT people despite the newspaper printing a front page apology about the story

Printing a front page apology for publishing a positive story about the lives of LGBTs in the Sultanate of Oman has not been enough to save TheWeek newspaper from official sanction, with the government of the Gulf state now taking its editor and a journalist to court.

Homosexual acts are punished with up to 3 years in prison in Oman but the article The Outsiders in TheWeek newspaper described the situation for LGBTs in Oman as being easier than other Gulf states.

Following its publication the article was attacked by a member of Oman’s Shura Council for allegedly encouraging homosexuality and painting a picture of Oman as a safe haven for homosexuals.

In response the newspaper published a notice on its front page reading, ‘TheWeek places on record that there was never any intention to knowingly or unknowingly cause harm, offend or hurt the sentiments of the people,’ in relation to the article.

Oman’s Ministry of Information has ordered the suspension of publication of TheWeek despite its front page apology and is taking TheWeek’s editor Sameer Zakwani and the article’s unnamed writer to court.

TheWeek publisher Saleh Zakwani told Reuters that he did not know how long it would be suspended from publication or the charges that would be leveled against Sameer and the article’s author.

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) homosexual acts are only prosecuted in Oman when they attract ‘public scandal.’

The British Government warns travelers that homosexuality is illegal in Oman but does not actively discourage LGBT people from traveling to the Gulf state unlike nearby Saudi Arabia where it warns they may be subject to severe sanctions.

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News