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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Syria: the case of Muhannad Al Hassani


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Renate Weber, Frédérique Ries, Marielle De Sarnez on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0071/2009

Postopek : 2009/2679(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Syria: the case of Muhannad Al Hassani

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Syria, in particular those of 8 September 2005 on political prisoners in Syria, 15 June 2006 on human rights in Syria and 24 May 2007 on human rights in Syria;


- having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;


- having regard to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1984;


- having regard to Article 11(1) of the Treaty on the European Union and Article 177 of the EC Treaty, which establish the promotion of human rights as an objective of the common foreign and security policy;


- having regard to the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, to which the European Union and Syria are parties;


- having regard to the European Union Guidelines for Human Rights Defenders of 2004;


- having regard to Rule 122(5) of the Rules of Procedure;



A.  whereas Muhannad Al Hassani, a leading human rights lawyer and President of the Syrian Human Rights Organisation (Swasiah), was arrested by the Syrian authorities on 28 July 2009 and was formally charged on 30 July 2009 with making declarations aimed at weakening patriotic feelings and spreading false or exaggerated information aimed at weakening the nation;


B.  Whereas Mr. Muhannad al-Hassani, facing up to 15 years in prison, was referred to the Justice Palace in Damascus, where he was interrogated and formally charged in a closed session to which his lawyer was not allowed access;


C.  Whereas Mr. Muhannad al-Hassani had been interrogated on several occasions before the arrest, questioned for his defence of political detainees and for the work of his organization, the Syrian Human Rights Organization (SAWASIYAH), which monitors and publicizes human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities;

D.  whereas the European Parliament and its President have already intervened several times to obtain the release of human rights defenders, parliamentarians and other politicians detained in Syrian prisons, including Michel Kilo and Mahmoud Issa; whereas the European Parliament welcomes all successful initiatives taken by Syrian and international actors aimed at releasing human rights defenders;


E.  whereas Syria has an important role to play in finding lasting peace and stability in the Middle East; whereas positive events occurred in this regard which provides a basis for the re-launching of efforts aimed at concluding the Association Agreement;


F.  whereas the Association Agreement between the EU and Syria is still to be signed and ratified; whereas respect for human rights is an essential part of this Agreement;


G.  whereas the Emergency Law in force since 1963 is effectively limiting citizens in the exercise of their civil and political rights; whereas in this case Muhannad Al Hassani and other human rights lawyers were already prevented from travelling abroad to attend workshops on international human rights;



1.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to immediately release Muhannad Al Hassani and to guarantee his physical and psychological integrity, in conformity with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9 December 1998;


2.  Expresses its deepest  concern at the significant repression human rights defenders in Syria still have to face and the absence of progress by the Syrian authorities concerning respect for human rights;


3.  Calls on the Syrian Government to reconsider the cases of political prisoners and to release all prisoners of conscience, human rights defenders and peace activists;


4.  Calls on the Syrian authorities to restore and ensure the transparent functioning of the judicial system, with special regard to the Supreme State Security Court;


5.  Urges the Syrian authorities to strictly comply with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and other pertinent international documents and standards to ensure that detainees in Syrian prisons : 1) are well treated and not subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, 2) are given prompt, regular and unrestricted access to their families, lawyers and doctors;


6.  Is confident that Syria, which could play an important role in achieving peace in the region, will improve and support human rights and freedom of expression in the country;


7.  highlights the obligation to comply with Article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement - which stipulates that respect for democratic principles and fundamental rights inspire the domestic and external policies of the parties and constitute and essential element of the agreement;


8.  Calls for the abrogation of the state of emergency in Syria, established more than 40 years ago;


9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Government and Parliament of the Syrian Arab Republic.