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Sunday, 18 October 2009

Human Rights Lawyer disappears in Syria

It seems that the Syrian authorities are up to their normal tricks again. My eye was drawn to a twitter message from a friend and colleague today about the disappearance of a prominent lawyer and human rights activist Haythan al-Maleh.

"The Syrian government should reveal the fate of the prominent lawyer and rights activist Haytham al-Maleh, 78, who disappeared on October 14, 2009,and should release him immediately and unconditionally if it is detaining him", Human Rights Watch said today.

The reason for the disappearance is being attributed to a telephone interview aired on an opposition TV station Barada TV on October 12 in which he criticised the Syrian authorities for their repression of freedom of expression.

The following day Haytham al-Maleh was summonsed for interrogation by Political Security one of Syria's intelligence services, he refused and the following day he has disappeared.

It could be coincidence however, given Syria's record on human rights it is very doubtful.

Human Rights Watch has asked Syria to be honest and admit if they are detaining him, their deafening silence indicates they probably are! Let us hope the Foreign Secretary will give this matter some of his attention this week, I have emailed to give my two pence worth.

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