The first court appearance of a South African woman who has been detained in Oman since 9 May was postponed on Wednesday. While Collin’s family still has a limited understanding of what the charges are against her, the reason for postponement was to assist in ensuring that she gains access to legal representation.
The Capetonian first arrived in Oman during mid-April this year and was taken into custody barely three weeks into her stay. Both her and her brother, who is a person of interest in a murder case in Oman, went to the country to work.
“It’s been horrible for the family,” spokesperson for the family of Chloe Collins, Simone Carolissen said.
“In South Africa, employment opportunities for young people are scarce and she needed to go and find work – that’s why she went to Oman. She got work through an agency and went to work in a hotel to earn some money and make a living for herself.”
Carolissen added that while Collin’s brother accompanied her for the same reasons, he had a mental breakdown shortly after arriving in the country.
“He’s a bit younger than her. He went to work and had a mental breakdown a few weeks after he got there. He was then brought back home and is currently in hospital.”
The brother has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, according to Carolissen.
Omani authorities seem to be holding Collin’s in detention due to the role she had in assisting her brother to return to South Africa.
“The situation regarding her brother and his being a person of interest in the murder of an Omani national in Oman is a bit foggy to us. We still don’t really know what’s going on…all I know is that he’s a person of interest and that they believe he could’ve been involved in that incident regarding the Omani national,” said Carolissen.
“He is in a mental institution and we don’t know if there are any charges against him. There has been no talk of anybody charging him or looking for him officially.”
“[However], they [the Omani officials] said that they think she brought him and or aided him in leaving Oman to come back to South Africa, so that’s why she was being held in custody.”
Collins has not been allowed to contact anyone in her family directly and they are under severe pressure to find the funds required to recruit an attorney, according to Carolissen.
Meanwhile, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has been limited in its role.
“DIRCO is doing what they say they can do. They have a policy that they are not allowed to get involved in the legal processes of another country – which I understand…they can’t just act out of their mandate for one specific case but all they’ve been doing is going to find out if she’s okay and then relaying the message over to myself. That’s all they say they can do,” said Carolissen.
“We’ve met with the deputy minister [of DIRCO] a few weeks ago and basically he said to us that they can only find out if she’s okay…We would’ve liked more active participation from them.”