Thursday, 21 April 2011

Lifting of Syrian emergency laws means little

The problem in Syria goes far deeper than the emergency laws.

The decision by the Syrian regime to lift the state of emergency law that has been in force since 1963 has turned out to be another farce.

The Syrian security forces continued to fire at the peaceful Syrian protestors to prove that it is business as usual.

Map of Syria
To add insult to injury, the Syrian authorities also arrested on Tuesday, 19 April, an opposition activist after he gave an interview to Al-Jazeera TV.

This happened as the cabinet was voting on the repeal of the emergency laws.

According to the London-based Syrian human rights observatory, Mahmoud Essa, a prominent activist, had been arrested in a raid by the security services.

Syrian human rights activist and one of the undeclared leaders of the protest movement Haitham al-Maleh said that the decision to lift the state of emergency was "meaningless" without an independence of the judiciary and holding the security forces accountable.
He said: "The problem is that the ruling elite and the security have put their
hands on the judiciary and that other legislation they had introduced
exempt the security forces from being held accountable to law."
Tadmor prison, Syria
Syrian activist and writer Mustafa Khalifa, who spent 13 years in a Syrian prison for affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood even though he is a Christian, said that lifting the emergency was a sham.
"The issue of freedom in Syria has nothing to do with the emergency law, which was not put in force since1963.

"What took place in practice was a thousand-fold worse than the emergency laws, which, at least, included legal checks and respect to some of the basic individual rights."
Khalifa, whose story was immortalized in his memoir "The Shell", went on to say: "As prisoners, we wish that even the emergencylaws had been implemented."

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