SYRIA. HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ASK FOR DEMOCRATIC REFORMS AND THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY
June 15, 2005: the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria (CDF) addressed a letter to an EU delegation visiting the country advancing proposals for the improvement of human rights and civil society in Syria.
Amongst these were the abolition of the state of emergency and of special tribunals, the release of political prisoners, the return to the country of those who were in exile, the abolition of torture and of the death penalty and the granting of citizenship to Kurds.
The delegation, headed by MEP Beatrice Patry, and including the European Commission delegation head in Damascus, Frank Hesske, and the Dutch ambassador to Damascus (representing the EU presidency) met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Minister Faruq al-Sharaa and the President of the local Parliament.
The Syrian side underlined the importance of completing agreements for partnerships with the EU and improving Syrian-EU cooperation.
The meetings took place whilst in the background many Syrian human rights activists had been imprisoned or were under trial. Amongst these were Muhammad Raadun, President of the Arab Human Rights Organization in Syria, Aktham Naysa, President of the Committee for the Defense of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria, the writer Ali Abdallah of the Syrian Commission for Human Rights and Riyad Darrar of the Commission for Civil Society. (Sources: Aki, 15 /06/2005)