Despotic Sentences against Six Islamists

The exceptional Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) issued despotic and unjust sentences against six youths arrested because of their Islamic background on Sunday 11/2/2007. Accusations against them included opposing the aims of the revolution, membership of a society established to change the economic and social structure of the state, and spreading information that aimed to weaken national morals.

The sentences passed against them are:

Mr. Asem Mohammed Basheer (37 years) from Tal in Rural Damascus was sentenced to ten years in prison with hard labour. He was arrested on 14/8/2004.

Mr. Mohammed Ghassan Fawzi al-Khateeb was arrested on 4/10/2004 to seven years in prison.

The three detainees: Shaher Mohammed Ma’roof al-Zarqa (27 years) arrested on 21/2/2004, Jamal Husein Zaineiah (35 years) arrested on 26/7/2004 and Marher Hasan Khaz’ah (30 years) from Tal in Rural Damascus arrested on 30/11/2004 were all sentenced to seven years in prison with hard labour.

Mr. Murad Mohammed Ma’rouf al-Zarqa (29 years) was arrested on 21/2/2004 and sentenced to four years prison with hard labour.

The Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC) considers the sentences issued by an exceptional and unconstitutional court as invalid. SHRC also witnesses that the Syrian authorities has lately issued gross despotic and unfair sentences void of genuine legal reasons which discredit them, especially when considering that the sentences collide with the basic freedoms of expression, creed and peaceful political activity.

Therefore, SHRC calls for the immediate release of the abovementioned detainees in addition to all prisoners of conscience, expression and of different political viewpoints. SHRC also calls for the abolishment of the illegal SSSC and to terminate despotic and arbitrary arrests in Syria.

Syrian Human Rights Committee