2 Oman newspaper journalists freed pending appeal of case

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Two newspaper journalists in Oman have been freed pending an appeal of their criminal convictions over their reporting on an alleged corruption case.

The advocacy group Reporters Without Borders says Azamn newspaper's editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Maamari and deputy editor-in-chief Youssef al-Haj were released on bail Tuesday.

The two men were sentenced in September to three years in prison over their reporting on alleged corruption in Oman's judiciary. Al-Haj also was found guilty of slander and violating a gag order for reporting on al-Maamari's initial arrest.

A third journalist, Zaher al-Abri, was released earlier after being sentenced to one year in prison.

Rights groups have roundly criticized the case.

Oman, a Gulf Arab country on the Arabian Peninsula, is a close U.S. ally and is ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

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