Oman


Top lawyer quits legal association


Khalifa Al Hinai: Former judge and senior lawyer

Muscat: Protesting against Omani Lawyers Association's "failure" in resolving the cellphone ban issue, Khalifa Al Hinai, a former judge and a senior member of the association, yesterday resigned from the body.

The decision
"The Muscat Appeals Court's move to deny permission for lawyers to carry cellphones and handbags inside the court premises is embarrassing. Moreover, the association is seen as being unsuccessful in resolving this issue. If they can't resolve it, I don't want to be a part of them. The court's move is an embarrassing situation for the entire lawyers' fraternity," Khalifa told
Times of Oman.

On Saturday, Muscat Appeals Court in Al Khuwair had denied lawyers the permission to carry cellphones and handbags inside court premises, after a video recording (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6JUCjvAeN4) of last Wednesday's court hearing on wrongful gathering case surfaced on Youtube.

Frisking lawyers
Since Saturday onwards, the lawyers are being frisked and are not being allowed to carry cellphones and handbags inside the court. Earlier, the public were not allowed to carry cellphones inside court, but lawyers were allowed.

"Earlier, it was visitors who were also not allowed to carry cellphones inside the
court premises.

"But after this incident, lawyers are also being frisked while entering courtroom," Sumaiya Al Balushi, a lawyer, told Times of Oman on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the person who posted the controversial video is still at large and the authorities are on the lookout for him.

Difficulties
"Security personnel are not allowing us to carry our cellphones inside court. It is an embarrassing situation. We are being frisked each time we go out and return. Communication has become difficult. As we are dealing with cases, sometimes we have to call our office and colleagues," the lawyer added.

Even though some of the lawyers held talks with the higher authorities of the court to resolve the issue on Saturday, they failed to succeed

"What we heard is that the talks were not fruitful," the lawyer claimed, while adding that the curbs on cellphones and handbags may stay for sometime till the culprit is caught.

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