Friday, July 16, 2010

Syria: Al-Asad's Decade in Power Marked by Repression

Rights Suppressed, Activists Detained, Media Censored, Kurds Sidelined

Human Rights Watch

"(New York) - President Bashar al-Asad has not delivered on his promises to increase public freedoms and improve his government's human rights record during a decade in power, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today on the eve of the anniversary of his accession to power.

The 35-page report, "A Wasted Decade: Human Rights in Syria during Bashar al-Asad's First Ten Years in Power," reviews al-Asad's human rights record in five key areas: repression of political and human rights activism; restrictions on freedom of expression; torture; treatment of the Kurds; and Syria's legacy of enforced disappearances. The verdict is bleak.

"Whether President al-Asad wanted to be a reformer but was hampered by an entrenched old guard or has been just another Arab ruler unwilling to listen to criticism, the outcome for Syria's people is the same: no freedom, no rights," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Al-Asad's record after 10 years is that he has done virtually nothing to improve his country's human rights record.".....

Syria's security agencies, the feared mukhabarat, detain people without arrest warrants and torture with complete impunity. Two years after prison authorities and military police used firearms to quell a riot that began on July 5, 2008, at Sednaya prison, Syrian authorities have not revealed the fate of at least 42 detainees, at least nine of whom are believed to have been killed.

Censorship is prevalent and extends to popular websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Blogger......"

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