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Fear of torture/ incommunicado detention/ prisoners of conscience New concern: Legal concern
SYRIA

Yassin al-Hamwi (m), aged about 60, shopkeeper, founding member of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah (m), law student, founding member of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience

On 16 August, prisoners of conscience Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah were released on bail, pending their trial before a military court in Damascus on 6 September. The two men are said to be in good health and have thanked Amnesty International for its continuing efforts on their case.

Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah are due to be tried on charges of "establishing a secret society" and "defamation of the public administration". Trials before military courts are not independent or impartial. In many cases defendants appear to be presumed guilty, and their rights to present a defence and have legal representation are not respected.

Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah are leading members of a newly-established support group, the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience. They were arrested by the security forces on 26 and 27 July respectively, after they took part in the first meeting of this organisation, on 25 July, in the town of Darya, near Damascus. (See public statement MDE 24/055/2005, 27 July 2005, Syria: Amnesty International concerned at arrests of members of the Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience).

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English, Arabic, French or your own language:

  • welcoming the news that Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al- 'Abdullah have been released on bail;
  • expressing concern that they are to be tried by a military court, whose proceedings fall far short of international standards for fair trial;
  • calling on the authorities to drop charges against both men, as they are on trial solely for having exercised their right to freedom of expression.

    APPEALS TO (Time difference = GMT + 2 hrs / BST + 1 hrs):
    His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
    President of the Republic
    Presidential Palace
    Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
    Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
    Fax: 00 963 11 332 3410
    [Salutation: Your Excellency]

    His Excellency General Ghazi Kan'an
    Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
    Merjeh Circle
    Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
    Fax 00 963 11 222 3428
    Email: admin@civilaffair-moi.gov.sy
    [Salutation: Your Excellency ]

    His Excellency Muhammad al-Ghafari
    Minister of Justice
    Ministry of Justice
    Al-Nasr Street
    Damascus
    Syrian Arab Republic
    Fax: 00 963 11 222
    3428
    [Salutation: Your Excellency]

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: His Excellency Mr Mouafak Nassar,
Embassy of Syrian Arab Republic, 8 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8
PH. Fax: 020 7235 4621 Email: embassy500@netscapeonline.co.uk

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please do not send appeals after 3 October 2005.

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All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff
All information is Copyright 1997 - 2006 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff