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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on 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

Bernd Posselt, Cristian Dan Preda, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Michael Gahler on behalf of the PPE Group

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

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

The European Parliament,

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


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


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


-          having regard to the previous resolutions on Syria and the Middle East;


-          having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure;



A.       Mindful of the importance of the political, economic and cultural ties that exist between the European Union and Syria;


B.        Taking into consideration the content of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement, especially Article 2, which stipulates that respect for democratic principles and fundamental rights inspire the domestic and external policies of the parties and constitute an essential element of the agreement;


C.       Whereas the European Parliament and its President have already intervened several times in favour of the release of human rights activists, politicians and parliamentarians detained in Syrian prisons;


D.       Whereas Mr. Muhannad al-Hassani, a leading Syrian human rights lawyer who had regularly carried out observations of trials before the Supreme State Security Court, was arrested by Syrian State Security on 28 July 2009 and charged with "weakening national sentiments" and "spreading false news";


E.        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;


F.        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;

G.       Whereas Syrian authorities have previously prevented Mr. Muhannad al-Hassani and other human rights lawyers from travelling abroad in order to take part in human rights events and training seminars; whereas this is a well-established pattern used by the Syrian authorities to harass and punish human rights defenders;


1.        Welcomes the continuing dialogue between the European Union and Syria and hopes that the continuous efforts will lead to improvements not only on the economic and social situation in Syria but also politically and in the field of Human Rights;


2.        Highlights the obligation to comply with Article 2 of the Euro-Mediterranean Agreement;


3.        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;


4.        Express its deepest concern about Mr. Al Hassani’s detention, which seems to aim at sanctioning his human rights activities, especially regarding the monitoring of the Supreme State Security Court and the detention conditions in Syria;

5.        Calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately release Mr. Muhannad Al Hassani, as well as to guarantee in all circumstances his physical and psychological integrity;

6.        Urge the Syrian authorities to put an end to all forms of harassment against Mr. Muhannad Al Hassani as well as against Syrian human rights defenders and civil society activists in general, 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;

7.        Calls upon the Syrian authorities to abide by international human rights standards as expressed in the Barcelona Declaration and other international instruments to which the Syrian Arab Republic is a State party;


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, the Syrian Government and the Syrian Parliament.