The ICJ and other rights groups welcome the decision of the Syrian Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) on June 26, 2005, to drop all charges against Syrian human rights defender Aktham Naisse (photo).
Mr. Naisse is a prominent Syrian lawyer and the President of the Committees of the Defence of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights in Syria (CDF), a member organisation of the EMHRN, FIDH and OMCT. He has been awarded the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) this year for his human rights work. The MEA ceremony will take place in Geneva on October 12, 2005 and the award will be handed over by Mrs. Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Mr. Naisse was arrested on April 13, 2004 and released on bail on August 17, 2004, following a decision by the SSSC. Mr. Naisse was charged with “opposing the objectives of the revolution” and “disseminating false information aiming at weakening the State”, and he thereby risked a prison sentence of 15 years.
On June 25, 2005, the CDF issued a press release where Mr. Naisse declared that he would not attend Sunday’s hearing. His decision was based upon the fact that the SSSC is an “exceptional, unconstitutional court” and that it fails to conform with “recognised standards of a fair trial”.
On June 26, 2005, in the absence of Mr. Naisse, the Court finally announced that Mr. Naisse was found not responsible of “the activities” of which he was charged. It is striking that the Court no longer referred to “crimes” but to “activities”.
Syria-Naisse acquitted-press release-2005-eng (full text in English, PDF)
Syria-Naisse acquitted-press release-2005-ara (full text in Arabic, PDF)