U.S. condemns arrest of <i>Al Hayat</i> journalist by Syria

Published January 3rd, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

The State Department on Thursday denounced Syria's detention of the Damascus correspondent of the Pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat.  


Spokesman Richard Boucher said the arrest of Ibrahim Hamidi underscores the lack of freedom of press and basic civil liberties in Syria.  


"We look to Syria, which is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and a member of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, to respect the rights of citizens to freedom of the press, speech and assembly and due process," he said. The US Embassy in Damascus will continue to follow the Hamidi case closely, Boucher added.  


Syria's official news agency reported the arrest last Friday and said Hamidi was being questioned about alleged false reports that violate Syrian publication laws.  


In an article in the London-based Al-Hayat on Dec. 20, Hamidi quoted informed sources as saying the Syrian government was preparing logistics to welcome up to 1 million Iraqi refugees on the Syrian-Iraqi border in the event of a U.S. attack on Iraq. (Albawaba.com)

© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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