EU urges Syria to free 79-year-old activist, two others



BRUSSELS- The European Union urged Syria on Monday to release a writer and two human rights lawyers and expressed grave concern about the health of one of them, 79-year-old Haytham al-Maleh.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton also urged Damascus to "reconsider all cases of prisoners of conscience" and "to immediately release all such prisoners."



EU urges Syria to free 79-year-old activist, two others
Ashton said the 27-nation bloc "condemns" the three-year sentences imposed against Maleh and another lawyer, Muhannad al-Hassani, "on charges that appear to be in breach of their fundamental rights and freedoms."
The EU also "deplores" the renewed arrest on June 17 of Ali al-Abdullah, a Syrian writer arrested a day after completing a previous sentence, Ashton said in a statement.
"The EU is in particular gravely concerned by the situation of Mr. Al Maleh, due to his fragile health and advanced age," Ashton said.
Maleh, who has worked for Amnesty International since 1989 and was involved in founding a Syrian rights group, was arrested on October 14 and questioned in a military tribunal over articles he had written.
He was already held behind bars between 1980 and 1986 along with a large number of trade union and opposition figures for issuing a call for constitutional reforms.
The United States, France and Germany have issued calls for his release.
"The EU calls for the immediate release of MM. al-Maleh, al-Hassani and al-Abdullah," she said.
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Tuesday, July 27th 2010
AFP
           


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