Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Syria ‘general amnesty’ fails to free hundreds detained after protests

21 June 2011

"A new “general amnesty” announced in Syria falls far short of the political reforms called for by protesters, Amnesty International said today.

According to the state news agency SANA, the amnesty will apply to chronically ill prisoners as well as those held for some criminal offences committed before yesterday, including theft and smuggling. It will not affect hundreds of people being held for their involvement in peaceful political protests.

Several hundred political prisoners were reportedly released following another “general amnesty” announced on 31 May. However, hundreds more remain detained, many of them held incommunicado and at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

“President al-Assad has once again failed dramatically to address the legitimate demands of people who’ve been risking their lives to make their voices heard,” said Philip Luther, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

All those being held without charge for their perceived link to the ongoing protests must be put on trial or released.”...."

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