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ATTORNEY URGENT  ALERT

 

SYRIA

10 March 2010

 

First public hearing of the trial of human rights lawyer

 

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Muhannad Al-Hassani,

 

President of the Syrian Organisation for Human RightsSawassyah”, Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) .

 

 

 


On March 10, 2010, the first public hearing of the trial of human rights lawyer Mr. Muhannad Al-Hassani, President of the Syrian Organisation for Human RightsSawassyah”, Commissioner of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) , was held before the Second Chamber of the Damascus Criminal Court in the presence of numerous human rights activists and lawyers, foreign embassies representatives, and international observers, notably Mr Mario LANA,  Deputy president of IDHAE

During his hearing, Mr. Al-Hassani recalled that the accusations held against him are groundless. He recalled thatSawassyahwas set up in conformity with Syrian legal provisions, and that according to its status, hearings before the Supreme State Security Court are public. Mr. Al-Hassani stressed that his organisation has always denounced all kinds of human rights violations, be it at the national or regional levels. He also challenged anyone to bring evidence thatSawassyah” has everspread false news” during its six years of existence. In his conclusion, Mr. Al-Hassani stated thathuman rights principles represent a humanist achievement for the sake of the weak, the oppressed and voiceless people. It is a noble commitment, and I am innocent of all criminal accusations that are made against me”.

The next hearing will be held on April 6, 2010. Mr. Al-Hassani faces a sentence of up to 15 years of imprisonment.

In addition, Mr. Al-Hassani faces another penal procedure following his request to attend French lessons given within the prison, a move that reminds penal procedures undertaken against several other human rights defenders, notably Mr. Haytham Al-Maleh, Mr. Anwar Al-Bunni, Mr. Kamal Al-Labwani and Mr. Walid Al-Bunni on the basis of the testimony of other detainees.

 

On March 13, 2010, several prisoners of conscience detained in the Adra prison in Damascus, including Mr. Mohannad Al-Hassani, Mr. Jaber Al-Shoufie, a member of the Committees for the Defence of Freedoms and Human Rights in Syria (CDF), and Mr. Riad Al-Seif, a pro-democracy activist, decided to give up their visitation rights to protest to the penitentiary administration’s attempt to compel them to keep their prison uniform during visits. This measure illustrates the discriminatory conditions of detention for prisoners of conscience, such as restricted access to their lawyers and families during their visits, deprivation of a bed, constant scrutiny and harassment from their cellmates.

 

 

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