Suche innerhalb des Archivs / Search the Archive All words Any words

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[] Re: Syria: Punished for using the internet,

To:             	hemmerle -!
- rumms -
 uni-mannheim -
From:           	Amnesty International <ai-news -!
- amnesty -
Subject:        	Syria: Punished for using the internet
Date sent:      	Fri, 12 Mar 2004 00:18:47 -0800
Send reply to:  	<ai-news -!
- amnesty -

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI INDEX: MDE 24/017/2004     12 March 2004   

Syria: Punished for using the internet - Amnesty International calls for an end to the suppression of the right to freedom of expression

Amnesty International today called for the immediate release of prisoners of conscience held in Syrian prisons and detention centres for exercising the right to freedom of expression.

Over the past four decades hundreds of Syrians have suffered excessive restrictions on their right to freedom of expression. The government imposes censorship on correspondence, communications and information media. 'Abdel Rahman al-Shaghouri is just one Syrian who is suffering the affects of 
these measures. He is currently detained pending trial before the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) on 15 March 2004. He is facing charges connected to the use of internet sites containing political information and sending articles to his friends. He was arrested on 23 February 2003 and 
reportedly beaten in custody before being transferred to Sednaya prison where he is said to be held without access to his family or lawyers. On the day of 'Abdel Rahman al-Shaghouri's arrest, secret police agents were reported to have entered his house and confiscated his computer, fax machine, 
CDs and other computer-related items.

Added to the list of those denied their right to freedom of expression are Muhannad Koutaish, his brother Haytham, and Yahia Alous who are held in Sednaya prison having been detained for almost one and a half years for using the internet. All were reportedly arrested for sending articles to an 
electronic newspaper in the United Arab Emirates. They have been tried by the SSSC on charges related to "publishing false reports" which carries a prison sentence of between three months and three years. The verdict is expected to be delivered on 15 March 2004. 

Internet access is carefully monitored by the authorities in Syria and unfettered access is only possible by dialling internet service providers in neighbouring countries. 

Amnesty International is concerned that prisoners of conscience, 'Abdel Rahman al-Shaghouri, Muhannad Koutaish, Haytham Koutaish and Yahia Alous, face not only prolonged detention, torture and/or other ill-treatment, but also the prospect of a grossly unfair trial. On the basis of evidence 
collected over the years by Amnesty International, the trials of political suspects before the SSSC invariably fall far short of international standards for fair trial. The SSSC places severe restrictions on the defendants' right to obtain effective legal representation and its verdicts are not 
subject to appeal before a higher tribunal. Amnesty International has also voiced concerns over the years 
that the SSSC appears to be neither independent nor impartial.

Over the years Amnesty International has documented evidence of opponents or suspected opponents no
t involved in violence who are routinely detained, harassed, tortured and, in some cases, summarily
 or extra-judicially executed. The organization has repeatedly expressed grave concern over the arr
est and detention of hundreds of prisoners of conscience. 

The State of Emergency Law established in 1963 has over the years facilitated gross human rights vi
olations in Syria. This month saw the 41st anniversary of the imposition of State of Emergency Law 
- see Amnesty International's public statement: Syria: 41 years of the State of Emergency - Amnesty
 International reiterates its concerns over a catalogue of human rights violations, (View the state
ment online at ). In a recent example of the
 suppression of the right to freedom of expression dozens of people, including human rights defende
rs, were arrested on 8 March when they marked the anniversary by protesting outside parliament agai
nst this law. They were all said to be released without charge on the same day.


Read Amnesty International's new report "Middle East and North Africa Region
Re-drafting the Arab Charter on Human Rights: Building for a better future" online at http://amnest

View all documents on Syria at

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main
text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting
Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the
list subscription message may be removed.
Past and current Amnesty news services can be found at 
<>. Visit <> 
for information about Amnesty International and for other AI 
publications. Contact amnestyis -!
- amnesty -
 org if you need to get 
in touch with the International Secretariat of Amnesty

Privacy policy <>

Update Your Profile:
Confirm Your Subscription:

Liste verlassen: 
Mail an infowar -
 de-request -!
- infopeace -
 de mit "unsubscribe" im Text.