Damascus Declaration Trial a Transparent Bid to Silence Critics
Human Rights Watch
"(Damascus, October 30, 2008) – Syria’s sentencing of a dozen leading democracy advocates to more than two years in prison is the latest evidence of Syria’s repression of opposition groups, Human Rights Watch said today. The democracy activists, including doctors, lawyers, writers, and an artist, were sentenced on October 29, 2008 to 30 months in prison on politically motivated charges.
Human Rights Watch attended the sentencing session and called for President Bashar al-Assad to immediately quash the convictions and order the prisoners’ release.
In a sentencing session that barely lasted 20 minutes, the First Damascus Criminal Court, presided over by Muhieldeen Hallaq, convicted the 12 activists on vaguely defined charges of “weakening national sentiment” and “spreading false or exaggerated news which would affect the morale of the country.”......"