24/061/2005, 9 August 2005; MDE 24/075/2005, 22 August 2005)
Fear of torture/incommunicado detention/prisoners of conscience/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
the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience
Yassin al-Hamwi and Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah were found not
guilty of "establishing and belonging to a secret society" by the
Military Court on 27 September, but guilty of "defamation of the
public administration". They were sentenced to 10 days'
imprisonment, which they had already spent in custody, and
released immediately. They had been free on bail since 16 August.
One member of Finland's Urgent Action Network received a response
from the Syrian Embassy in Sweden, saying that Yassin al-Hamwi and
Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah had been arrested for promoting an
"illegal" organization, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, which is
banned in Syria. This does not accord with Amnesty International's
information: the two men were arrested after the first meeting of
a support group they had been involved in setting up, the
Committee of the Families of Prisoners of Opinion and Conscience.
However, Muhammad 'Ali al-'Abdullah is the son of prisoner of
conscience 'Ali al-'Abdullah, who was detained on 15 May 2005, one
week after he read a statement on behalf of the exiled leader of
the Muslim Brotherhood at a meeting of the Jamal al-Atassi Forum,
a political discussion group which was itself then closed down by
the authorities. He is now in solitary confinement awaiting trial
before the Supreme State Security Court on charges of "promoting
an illegal organisation." (See UA 139/05, MDE 24/032/2005, 25 May
2005 and follow-ups).
Many thanks to all who sent appeals. No further action is