June 29, 2011 / 2:18 PM / in 6 years

Oman court jails 13 people after protests for jobs

MUSCAT (Reuters) - An Omani court has jailed 13 protesters for up to five years in the industrial city of Sohar, site of demonstrations demanding better pay, more jobs and an end to corruption, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Seven of them were sentenced to five years for “shutting down work at a government organisation” the Times of Oman said, in an apparent reference to demonstrators blocking state buildings during protests that broke out in February.

The other protesters received sentences of between three and six months, it said.

On Tuesday, the public prosecutor said 55 people were sentenced to prison terms of up to one year for vandalism during protests in an eastern town.

The usually calm Gulf Arab state was rocked by months of protests inspired by pro-democracy revolts that toppled long-serving rulers in Egypt and Tunisia.

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, a U.S. ally who has ruled Oman for 40 years, has promised a $2.6 billion spending package and the government has said it would create 50,000 public sector jobs to calm unrest.

Reporting by Saleh Al-Shaibany

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