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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

SYRIA

 22 February 2010

 New false charges against 

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Haytham al-Maleh, 78.

His health is failing more and more. He has not taken any of the medication he needs since 11 February.

 

Source : AI

 

 

 

On 22 February a second trial against Haytham al-Maleh was initiated following accusations of another detainee who claimed that Haytham al-Maleh, criticized the Syrian president and the prison's administration.

He was brought before a military judge in Damascus on 22 February to face new charges of "insulting the president" and "slandering a governmental body", in a public hearing. These charges were based on information from a prisoner detained for a non-political offence. Haytham al-Maleh said the information consisted of "lies and acts of provocation" by the prisoner.

Diplomats and two Italian lawyers representing the International Federation for Human Rights, an international non-governmental organization that aims at improving human rights protection, who had come to observe the trial session, were not allowed to attend. Haytham al-Maleh's wife, who was present in court, was not allowed to shake his hand or talk to him. On his way out, security officers dragged him away from her when they embraced.

The day after the hearing, the new charges were dropped under a presidential amnesty for prisoners convicted of minor offences.

Moreover, the charges brought against him on 3 November still stand. Haytham al-Maleh , 78 years old Syrian Human Rights Lawyer was detained since Oct. 14, 2009.  He was arrested after an interview in which he criticized the continuing oppression of the freedom of speech in Syria. He was charged by a military judge on 3 November with "conveying false news", "weakening national sentiment" and "slandering a governmental body". These charges relate to his public criticism of human rights violations and corruption by Syrian officials, which included a phone interview in September with a Europe-based satellite channel, Baradda TV.

On 31 January 2010, the Court of Cassation in Syria rejected Haytham al-Maleh’s appeal against the decision by the Supreme Military Investigation Judge in Damascus to confirm the charges against him of “conveying false news within Syria that could debilitate the morale of the nation”, “insulting the president” and “insulting the judiciary”. Soon the trial opens. He faces a fifteen years' prison term under Articles 286 and 378 of the Syrian Penal Code. 

Haytham al-Maleh's health failing

According to those who did attend the 22nd February hearing, Haytham al-Maleh was so frail that his voice was weak. He had passed out during the week before the hearing, because he had not received his medication.

Since 11 February, the authorities have not allowed detainees in 'Adra prison to obtain medication from anywhere but the prison pharmacy. Haytham al-Maleh will only take medication provided by his family, because he believes the prison pharmacy's medicine is of poor quality.

Conditions in ‘Adra prison are poor. Haytham al-Maleh is sleeping on a mattress on a cold floor of a 60 square meter prison cell together with 60 to 65 other prisoners mostly smokers. He never smoked in his life.  The smoke and the cold effected his health dramatically. He has diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland and has not had any medication since 11 February, although he needs to take regular medication to treat both conditions. His health is deteriorating. Individuals suffering from diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland who do not take medication are at risk of severe weight loss, falling into a coma, and even heart and kidney failure. Unlike other detainees in ‘Adra prison, Haytham al-Maleh is usually accompanied by a prison officer when meeting with the prison doctor.

 

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW

 

Send The IDHAE LETTER TO ADRESSES MENTIONNES BELOW

 

[Your name here]

 

Your Excellency,

 

I would like to express my concern about the situation of Haytham al- Malah, elderly Syrian lawyer, currently detained in the Adra prison.

 

On 22 February   Haytham al-Maleh was brought before a military judge in Damascus  following  false accusations of another detainee . These charges were based on information from a prisoner detained for a non-political offence. Haytham al-Maleh said the information consisted of "lies and acts of provocation" by the prisoner. Haytham al-Maleh's wife, who was present in court, was not allowed to shake his hand or talk to him. On his way out, security officers dragged him away from her when they embraced.The day after the hearing, the new charges were dropped .

 

His health is deteriorating. According to those who did attend the 22nd February hearing, Haytham al-Maleh was so frail that his voice was weak.

Conditions in ‘Adra prison are poor. Haytham al-Maleh is sleeping on a mattress on a cold floor of a 60 square meter prison cell together with 60 to 65 other prisoners mostly smokers. He never smoked in his life.  The smoke and the cold effected his health dramatically. He has diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland and has not had any medication since 11 February, although he needs to take regular medication to treat both conditions. Individuals suffering from diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland who do not take medication are at risk of severe weight loss, falling into a coma, and even heart and kidney failure. Unlike other detainees in ‘Adra prison, Haytham al-Maleh is usually accompanied by a prison officer when meeting with the prison doctor.


Haytham al-Maleh is facing charges relating  to an interview he gave in September to European-based satellite broadcaster Baradda TV, and also articles and reports he has published over three years about government corruption and human rights abuses in Syria.


I call on you to release Haytham al- Maleh immediately and unconditionally , since his detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, unless he is to be accused with recognizably criminal offences on an international standard and tried according to fair trial standards.

 

I also urge to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of  Haytham El-Maleh and  to ensure that he has access to any medical attention he may require and that he is allowed to regular visits from his family.

I also remind you that, in its quality of member state to the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Syria must ensure that he will not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated.

 

Yours sincerely

 

[Signature]

 

 

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English, French or your own language:

Urging the authorities to :

·          Release Haytham al-Maleh immediately and unconditionally, since his detention is arbitrary as it only aims at sanctioning his human rights activities and the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression.

·         Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of  Haytham El-Maleh;

·         Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against  Haytham El-Maleh and more generally against all human rights defenders in Syria;

·         Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, and Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

·         Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic.

 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO: (Salutation: Your Excellency)

President

His Excellency Bashar al-Assad,

Presidential Palace,

al Rashid Street,

Damascus,

Syria Arab Republic,

Fax: +963 11 332 3410

 

Minister of Defence

His Excellency General,

Hassan Ali Turkmani,

Ministry of Defence,

O mayyad Square,

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic,

Fax: +963 11 223 7842

 

Minister of Justice

His Excellency Mr. Ahmad Hamod Younes,

Mazeh “Otstrad”,

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic,

Fax: +963 11 666 2460

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs,

His Excellency Wallid Mu’allim,

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

al-Rashid Street, Damascus,

Syrian Arab Republic,

Fax: +963 11 332 7620

 

Minister of Interior

His Excellency Major Sa'id Mohamed Samour

Ministry of Interior

‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

Fax: +963 11 222 3428

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

 

TAKE ACTION NOW !

 

MEMBERS ONLY

 

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY

 

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