Spain negotiating with Oman to repatriate imprisoned Spaniards, including Catalan Fátima Ofkir

Girl jailed in 2017 on drug trafficking charges and sentenced to 25 years in prison

Fátima Ofkir Reyes, a Catalan young woman jailed in Oman
Fátima Ofkir Reyes, a Catalan young woman jailed in Oman / freefatima.com

ACN | @agenciaacn | Barcelona

May 11, 2024 01:47 PM

May 11, 2024 01:47 PM

Spain is currently negotiating a deal to repatriate Spaniards detained in Oman, where Catalan Fátima Ofkir has been imprisoned since 2017.

Ofkir was arrested in Oman on August 3, 2017 when she was 18 years old on charges of drug trafficking.

However, Spanish governmental sources told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that despite the potential deal, the 24-year-old would not automatically benefit from the agreement as each case would be studied individually.

Currently, the only Spaniard detained in the Middle East country is Fátima Ofkir.

25-year life sentence 

Ofkir was arrested in Oman on August 3, 2017, becoming the youngest Spanish citizen detained abroad. Age 18 at the time, a dozen armed officers raided her hotel room in Muscat, where they discovered 7 kg of morphine in a suitcase. 

Fátima was first sentenced to 8 years behind bars, but when Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said passed away in January 2020, his successor, his cousin Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, decided to implement harsher penalties for drug trafficking. 

For Ofkir, this meant that the initial 8 years were turned into a life sentence, which in Oman is at most 25 years. 

Her family and lawyers spoke out about the case considering the sentence disproportionate. They ask for her transfer to Spanish prison without unsuccessfully. 

Ofkir mother's told Catalan News that after years fighting for her freeing, the only hope they have was a transfer prisoners treaty between the two states.

The draft treaty is similar to one signed with Qatar in 2022, letting prisoners transfer to Spain. Have a listen to our Filling the Sink podcast tackling the case, and published in December 2022: