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Press Statement
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 29, 2008


Arrest of Syrian Political Activist Riad Seif

We condemn the recent arrest of Syrian political activist Riad Seif. His arrest and detention, along with the lack of transparency in the recently started legal proceedings against 10 Damascus Declaration National Council members, are yet another example of the Syrian regime’s contempt for the universally-recognized right of free expression of ideas, and its blatant attempts to silence and intimidate the Syrian people. The U.S. expects the Syrian government to live up to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and cease its harassment of Syrians who are peacefully seeking to bring about democratic and political reform in their country.

The following individuals unjustly imprisoned in Syria should know that the United States and the international community have not forgotten them: Michel Kilo, Kamal al-Labawani, Aref Dalila, Anwar al-Bunni, Mahmoud Issa, and Omar Abdullah. We stand in solidarity with their demand that all Syrians be allowed to freely express political dissent.

In addition, Syrian Authorities continue to hold Syrian National Council members: Akram al-Bunni, Walid al-Bunni, Ali Abdullah, Fidaa Khourani, Mohammed Yasser al-Eitti, Jaber al-Shufi, Ahmed Toumeh, Marwan al-Esh, Mohammed Hajj Darwish, and Fayiz Sara, and recently arraigned them on spurious charges.

It is time for the Syrian government to modify its behavior, end its support for terrorism in the region, and provide its citizens with the rights they deserve.

2008/064


Released on January 29, 2008

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