Documenting human rights violations in Syria remains a high-risk activity. Over the past years, several human rights defenders were sentenced to prison. The government imposed significant restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly, association and travel, and targeted in particular human rights defenders and pro-democracy activists
Defenders are generally prosecuted and often convicted for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and freedom of association and/or activities for the defence of human rights. Violations of the right to a fair trial are routinely observed at all stages of judicial proceedings and acts of mistreatment and torture have also been very regularly denounced during arrests by the State security services or during detention.
The arrests and detention of prominent lawyers and Human Rights Defenders Muhannad Al Hassani and Haitham Al Maleh in 2009 are concrete and recent illustrations of the systematic violation of freedom of association and expression and crackdown on independent HRDs.
Among other charges Mr. Al Hassani was prosecuted for attending Supreme State Security Court hearings without prior authorization, which he did as part of his activities of judicial observation on the respect of international standards of fair trial. This case illustrates the risks involved for independent non-governmental organizations to work in Syria.
For that reason several Syrian human rights organizations which have participated in the preparation of this report have preferred to remain anonymous.
Furthermore, in order to not put at risk more victims of severe human rights violations and their families, a large number of testimonies quoted in this report have already been documented byinternational human rights organizations.
The full text of the report, PDF 30 pages:
Alternative Report to the Syrian government's initial report on measures taken to fulfil its commitments under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment