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Weakening National Morale.

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Can you imagine being jailed for “weakening national morale”?

Can you imagine how many people might be caught up with such a spurious charge?

Can you imagine the outcry if that were to occur in the West?

No, instead a human right’s lawyer in Syria is being jailed for that most tendentious of charges. The BBC has a little more:

“An award-winning lawyer and activist has been jailed for three years in Syria, human rights groups say.

Mohannad al-Hassani, head of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights, was tried for spreading false information and “weakening national morale”.

He was arrested in July last year after being repeatedly summoned by the security police for questioning.

Hassani has defended a number of pro-democracy activists and campaigned for the repeal of the law used to jail him.

In May he won the Martin Ennals Award, named after the first head of Amnesty International, for his work in defending Syrian political prisoners and the rule of law.

Crackdown

The Damascus Criminal Court sentenced Hassani, 44, to three years in prison after convicting him of “weakening national morale” and “conveying within Syria false news that could debilitate the morale of the nation” .

That term is often used against those who challenge the Syrian government.

The Syrian Human Rights League (SHRL) expressed grave concern over Mr Hassani’s sentencing, saying “none of the minimum conditions and criteria for a fair trail” were met.

The organisation called for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Syria.

Arrests of pro-democracy activists are common in Syria, where several prominent political activists and writers remain imprisoned.”

Amnesty International covers it too:

“The charges were brought against Muhannad al-Hassani after he drew public attention to unfair trials of political prisoners before the notorious Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) and a death that may have been caused by torture or other ill-treatment in detention, and met foreign embassy officials to discuss human rights.

He also played a leading role in Sawasiyah, a local human rights organization which, like others, has not been legally authorised by the authorities. He was arrested on 28 July 2009, days after he observed a trial before the SSSC during which an official seized and destroyed his notes.

“Muhannad al-Hassani’s contribution to human rights has been internationally recognized,” said Malcolm Smart. “Yet, in Syria he has been prosecuted and jailed as if he were an enemy of the state.”

FIDH has a piece on his disbarment last year.

Written by modernityblog

24/06/2010 at 10:28

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