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Cablegate: Condemning Arrest and Arraignment of Syrian

VZCZCXRO9986
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHBS #0185 0361716
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051716Z FEB 08
FM USEU BRUSSELS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS

UNCLAS BRUSSELS 000185

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

ALLISON MONZ, NEA/ELA; OWEN KIRBY, NEA/PI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KMPI XF SY EUN
SUBJECT: CONDEMNING ARREST AND ARRAIGNMENT OF SYRIAN
DEMOCRACY ACTIVISTS

REF: SECSTATE 11025

1. The following statement was issued by the EU Presidency
on February 4, the same day as reftel.

2. Begin text:

Recalling the Presidency Statement of 27 September 2007 and
the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European
Union of 31 December 2007, the European Union condemns the
arrest on 28 January 2008 of Mr Riyad Seif, the prominent
member of the democratic opposition and former Member of the
Syrian Parliament.

The European Union's serious concern relates also to the
detention of eleven other signatories of the quoted
Declaration, namely Mr Ahmed Tomeh, Mr Jaber El Choufi, Mr
Akram El Bounni, Mr Walid El Bounni, Mr Mohammed Yasser El
Aiti, Mrs Fida Hourani, Mr Ali Abdallah, Mr Fayez Sara, Mr
Mohammed Hajji Darwish, Mr Marwan El Eich, Mr Talal Abu Dan,
as well as all other prisoners of conscience and political
prisoners.

The European Union calls for the immediate release of Mr
Riyad Seif and the other eleven prisoners, who peacefully
expressed their opinions and called for democratic reforms in
Syria. Fearing for their safety and physical integrity,
especially because of the serious health condition of Mr
Riyad Seif and some other detainees, the European Union urges
the Syrian authorities to respect international laws and
standards and to assure to all detainees the appropriate
conditions of detention and suitable medical treatment.

The European Union calls on the Syrian Government to
reconsider all cases of political prisoners and prisoners of
conscience in accordance with its national Constitution and
international commitments, specifically the Universal
Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, which Syria has signed and
ratified in 1969 and that clearly states the right to freedom
of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and
the right to be treated with humanity and respect when
deprived of liberty. In this sense the European Union invites
Syrian authorities to re-establish dialogue with Syrian civil
society.

The Candidate Countries, Croatia and the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and
Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries,
Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic
Area, as well as Ukraine,the Republic of Moldova and Georgia
align themselves with this declaration. End Text.

MURRAY
.

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