Paris, July 4 2010
I condemn the heavy sentence handed down by a military court to Haytham al Maleh, a historic figure in the defence of human rights in Syria, as I did at the time of his arrest on 14 October 2009. I ask the Syrian authorities to release him as quickly as possible.
France regrets that the Syrian authorities have remained deaf to the international community’s appeals for a measure of clemency to be taken with respect to a highly-regarded 79-year-old person in fragile health.
I also remain concerned about the fate of the other human rights defenders in Syria, particularly Muhammad al Hassani sentenced on 23 June 2010 to three months in prison, and Ali al-Abdullah, detained again on 17 June, the day after his release from two-and-a-half years in prison.