Amnesty International condemns Syria for sentencing human rights activists
A Syrian military court has sentenced 14 human rights activists to jail for belonging to an outlawed organization after they participated in a lecture condemning the country's emergency law, activists said on Saturday.
According to Reuters, the court in the northern province of Aleppo jailed 13 of them for three months and one for a year because it was his second offence.
For its part, Amnesty International has condemned the move. The international organization considered the charges brought against the activists to be "arbitrary" and called for the sentences to be dropped.
The military court convicted the activists of "affiliation to a secret organization and carrying out acts that could incite factional conflict within the nation."
The sentences which were passed in accordance with the 1963 state of emergency law are subject to appeal before the Military Court of Appeal.
The 14 political activists were initially detained for several hours in August 2003 as they were waiting to attend a seminar in Aleppo focusing on the state of emergency in Syria, and were subsequently referred to the military court.
The men are Fateh Jamus, who was handed down the longest sentence of one year in prison, Safwan 'Akkash, 'Abd al-Ghani Bakri, Hazim 'Ajaj al-Aghra'i, Muhammad Deeb Kor, 'Abd al-Jawwad al-Saleh, Hashem al-Hashem, Yassar Qaddur, Zaradesht Muhammad, Rashid Sha'ban, Fuad Bawadqji, Ghazi Mustafa, Najib Dedem and Samir 'Abd al-Karim Nashar.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)