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Democracy campaigners released: the Atassi 8

May 30th, 2005 · 18 Comments · Uncategorized

The eight political activists arrested a few days ago have all been released.

There were part of an anti-government political forum, allowed under Bashar’s 2000 reforms. But their arrest last week sparked fears that hopes for a renewed ‘Damascus Spring’ were over.

One of the released men Hassan Odat said “We were not held in solitary confinement or otherwise mistreated…It was more like a dialogue than an investigation.”

The government said they had been arrested to investigate their involvement with an outlawed group (the Al-Qaeda linked Muslim Brotherhood).

The group is expected to re-convene soon.

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18 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Catherine // May 30, 2005 at 9.34 pm

    Too long dialog if you ask me,couple of days! Also the newspappers reported the mukhabarat “visited” them to take them at dawn..after midnight..That brings bad memories.
    By the way, there is still one of them left, they were not all released, Ali AbdAllah, who read the message in the forum will face “charges”
    ????? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ??????? ??? ????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ???????? ??? ??????? ????? ??? ????? ???? ??????? ?????? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ?????.
    http://www.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/76DD9AA3-D4E8-45C6-A0CF-67BABE4D3598.htm

  • 2 Anonymous // May 31, 2005 at 1.49 am

    The government said they had been arrested to investigate their involvement with an outlawed group (the Al-Qaeda linked Muslim Brotherhood)

    If they are linked to Al Qaida so why Condolezza Rice accepted to open the dialogue with the brotherhood?
    And how do u explain that most of US mosques are under the brotherhood control?

  • 3 Anonymous // May 31, 2005 at 1.57 am

    http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/444F5CC6-FA57-43B1-BA99-208FFCAC1DF1.htm

    In a related development, Aljazeera’s correspondent in Cairo reported on Monday that Egyptian authorities prevented a leading Muslim brotherhood figure and former MP, Jamal Hishmat, from travelling to the US.
    Dr Hishmat was part of a delegation due to visit Maryland University, but he was detained at the airport.

  • 4 Anonymous // May 31, 2005 at 2.22 am

    it is ammasing that the stupid american policy makers will have dialoge with the MB, Alzawaheri is one of them ,may be that is why they are loking for him!

  • 5 Anonymous // May 31, 2005 at 3.04 am

    Since 1979,zawahiri withdrew from the brotherhood and joined jihad al islami.
    Sadate and Abdelnasser were also members of the brotherhood.
    Even the dictator bashar was recently in meet with the big boss of the moslem brotherhood ,youssef al qaradawi.Presented by the syrian agency as a symbol of moderation and dialogue.

    http://www.abunour.net/Arabic/activities2005/active029.htm

    ?????? ????? ??? ?? ???????? ??? ???????? ?????? ?? ????? ?????? ???? ??????

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  • 6 Anonymous // Jun 1, 2005 at 5.31 am

    didn,t egypt outlowed the MB after thier assasination attempt of Abdelnasser and look what Sadat did he fragmented the Arabs and sold egypt for bilions of aids from the US sadat as one of the MB is no houner to them there is nothing wrong of being religous even using ISLAM as it was practiced during the califes time as an insperation but to think that syrian arabs who think that deeds not religous affiliation is what defines the man ,for the MB to be axcepted in Syria they should denounce violence as a way to reach power and to be commeted to Arabic secular Syria for all syrians with eqwal writes.

  • 7 Anonymous // Jun 1, 2005 at 8.28 pm

    Another abject crime from the coward assad’s moukhabarat.

    Kurdish cleric dies of torture in Syria: party officials
    (AFP)

    1 June 2005

    BEIRUT – A Kurdish Sunni Muslim cleric in Syria who was reported missing last month has died after being tortured, Kurdish party officials said on Wednesday.

    Sheikh Mohammed Maashuq al-Khaznawi had not been heard from since May 10 and was believed to have been detained by Syrian police.

    The cleric “was killed at the hands of Syrian authorities,” a spokesman for the Kurdish Yakiti party said a statement received by AFP in Beirut.

    An official from the Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria, Nazir Mustapha, told AFP that doctors in Damascus reported “traces of torture” on Khaznawi’s body.

    The sheikh was widely popular in Syria, and was known for teaching that Islam and democracy are compatible. News of his disappearance led to massive demonstrations in northern Syria last month.

    Syria is home to some 1.5 million Kurds, around nine percent of the population. They are fighting to have their language, culture and political rights recognised.

  • 8 Anonymous // Jun 1, 2005 at 9.56 pm

    The source is an illegal Kurdish party! Secondly, if there were any ‘massive’ demonstrations it would have been on here.

  • 9 Anonymous // Jun 1, 2005 at 10.04 pm

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    PRESS RELEASE

    AI Index: MDE 24/036/2005 (Public)
    News Service No: 150
    1 June 2005

    Syria: Leading Islamic cleric “tortured to death”
    A prominent Islamic religious leader has been tortured to death, according to information received by Amnesty International. Sheikh Muhammad Ma’shuq al-Khiznawi died on 30 May, 20 days after he “disappeared”, apparently detained by Syrian Military Intelligence at an unknown location.

    “The Syrian authorities should launch an immediate, independent investigation into Sheikh Muhammad Ma’shuq al-Khiznawi’s death in custody,” said Neil Sammonds, Syria Researcher at Amnesty International. “The results must be made public and those responsible for his torture should be brought to justice.”

    Sheikh Muhammad Ma’shuq al-Khiznawi was an outspoken member of the Kurdish community who practised as an imam in the city of Qamishli in north-eastern Syria. He was a critic of violence and terrorism and recently called for reforms in Syria and for more dialogue between religious groups. In February and March 2005 he travelled to Norway, Brussels, and Germany, apparently in connection with his work on building relations between the EU and Kurdish community.

    Sheikh Muhammad Ma’shuq al-Khiznaw “disappeared” after leaving the Centre for Islamic Studies in Damascus on 10 May. The Syrian authorities denied that they were holding him but then handed over his body to his family earlier today. It was being taken back to Qamishli to be buried this evening. The family and body were accompanied by ten Military Intelligence cars on the journey between Damascus and Qamishli, according to witnesses.

  • 10 Anonymous // Jun 1, 2005 at 11.03 pm

    “according to information received by Amnesty International” same source!!

  • 11 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 12.36 am

    what’s your reliable sources??? ,al baath and teshrine ??

    In Syria al assad,There is no doubt about the identity of such coward crimes and there will be many others ,for them the syrian blood is cheap.

    The reasons are known….during his travel in Europe.
    Sheikh al Khaznawi meet Sheikh Ali al Bayanuni,head of the syrian branch of the brotherhood.
    This article was published 10 days before the kidnapping of Sheikh al Khaznawi from the same mafia who killed 100 000 syrians .
    Their hatred toward the sunni moslems is deep .

    Daring dissidents speak out in Syria

    Defying the secret police, activists push for democracy in a bastion of repression

    By PAUL KORING

    Wednesday, May 4, 2005 http://www.theglobeandmail.com
    DAMASCUS — A clutch of brave pro-democracy activists are daring to speak out in Syria, emboldened by intense pressure on Bashar Assad, the country’s young and relatively inexperienced President.

    In a country that has long been a bastion of ruthless repression, the calls for change represent a daring voice of dissent.

    Mr. Assad “promised us reform and democracy, and then we found ourselves in prisons. We must see some changes, not just hear promises,” said Muhammad Kamal al-Iabwani, a physician who is among a group of 10 activists known collectively as the Damascus Spring.

    The group first spoke out after Mr. Assad became President with the death of his father Hafez in 2000, when the warm zephyrs of promised reform wafted through Damascus but were quickly chilled by a crackdown on dissent. Mr. al-Iabwani spent three years in jail; six of his colleagues are still there. The rest live under the watchful eye of the Syrian secret police.

    But their voices are beginning to be raised again.

    Few Syrians even know of them. There is no groundswell of opposition, no nascent movement to replace Mr. Assad’s regime. The dissident voices enjoy no chorus of support from students or workers or even the increasingly disaffected Syrian middle class, which has seen its lifestyle deteriorate as public education and health care crumble while a wealthy few live a life of fine cars and ostentatious habits.

    But this spring, engulfed in the disorienting avalanche of news racing in from Lebanon, even ordinary Syrians say they believe change may be at hand.

    “The government is only still in power because there is no alternative, no parties, no popular movements. . . . All the excuses, all of the rationale for this regime is gone,” said writer Louay Hussen, 54, who, like most of the other intellectual and religious figures willing to speak openly about reform, wanted his name publicly affixed to his comments. He spoke while meeting openly with a foreign journalist in a trendy Damascus coffee bar.

    Some of the dissidents say the hard line adopted by U.S. President George W. Bush has forced Mr. Assad into a corner. Others suggest that the fundamental weakness of a regime led by a 38-year-old President surrounded by an aging old guard has let cracks develop in the authoritarian regime’s still-forbidding façade.

    “If they had said those things a few years ago, and especially if they said them for attribution, they would have just vanished,” said one Syrian who marvels at the pluck of the dissidents and remains astonished that they have not been jailed.

    Mr. Hussen suggested that the key pillars propping up the Syrian regime for decades are all eroding or disappearing — the unquestioned authority of Mr. Assad’s father, the willingness of Syrians to opt for stability rather than ethnic and religious fragmentation, the decades of unchanging standoff in the Middle East.

    For the moment, the voices of opposition remain largely unheard inside Syria, at least beyond the tiny circles of dissidents and citizens with access to the Internet.

    Even some of those people, such as Kurdish cleric Machouk Alkhaznawi, 46, have little credence among the Syrian Arab majority, many of whom regard the Kurds as troublemakers.

    The tall, turbaned cleric’s calls for change have been heard by thousands at Friday prayers in the northeastern city of Qamishli. During Nowruz, the festival marking the Islamic New Year, he used several sermons to denounce Mr. Assad’s rule. And his insistence that church and state must be separate would have fit comfortably with the vision of the framers of the U.S. Constitution.

    “Either the regime will change, or the regime must go,” he said in an interview during a recent visit to Damascus. “I couldn’t have said this five years ago because the Americans weren’t in Iraq five years ago. The reason I and others can speak out is because the Americans are trying to get rid of dictators and help the oppressed.”

    Mr. Alkhaznawi’s power base is in Qamishli, in a Kurdish region by the Turkish border nearly 800 kilometres from Damascus — on the periphery of Syrian politics. But his theme, that outside pressure is crucial to any hopes of internal political change in Syria, is widely echoed by other dissidents.

    “If the outside pressure continues, then the barriers of fear will be broken,” said one well-off intellectual who has spent years in prison and asked that his name not be used, in contrast to the other dissidents. “The regime is losing its grip because of outside pressure, but that pressure must be maintained.”

    Others who spoke out were careful to distance themselves from Washington, keenly aware that being seen as U.S. agents would doom their hopes of creating a popular opposition groundswell.

    “Our agenda is not the same as the Americans,” said Yassin Yassin al-Haj Saleh, who was sent to prison as a 19-year-old in 1980 and spent the next spent 16 years behind bars. “We who are interested in the future of democracy and the future of Syria must be patient.”

    Soft-spoken, intense and charming, Mr. al-Haj Saleh said Syrians are still afraid of the uncertainties that change may bring, having seen two neighbours — Lebanon and now Iraq — suffer through waves of extreme sectarian violence.

    “Solidarity for Syrians means that we don’t kill each other. When the regime was strong, it suffocated the country, but it was also the cement that held our society together,” Mr. al-Haj Saleh said. “People are afraid, but now they are afraid not of the regime, but of the collapse of the regime.”

  • 12 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 12.58 am

    “the same mafia who killed 100 000 syrians”

    why not say a million!

    Evidence for the torture claims: a Kurdish political party!

  • 13 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 1.53 am

    100 000 seem a reasonable estimation…

    40 000 killed in Hama + the 15 000 missing bodies =55 000 only for one city…
    As for Aleppo ,there was more than 10 000 killed and 10 000 missing…
    For any genocide under a totalitarian state there is difficulties to know the exact number…but 100 000 is a conservative estimation and not exagerated at all.
    U should add ,the 10 000’s of lebanese and palestinians killed during the bombing of the sunni cities in Lebanon ,massacres of Tripoli,Saida,Beirut,Palestinian camps….
    Anyway if assad killed 50 000 and not 100 000 that make him less criminal?

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  • 14 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 1.59 am

    anonymous,if u are not part of assad mafia profiteers…those killed ,tortured and raped are ur sisters and brothers….u should be jealous for ur dignity and honour.
    I dont doubt that u know better than me how much this regime is corrupt and criminal and is ready to sell our dignity and kill 100 000 other syrians in exchange to remain in power.

  • 15 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 2.20 am

    “if assad killed” see how he uses the word assad – why can’t you say bashar??? because that wouldn’t be true would it???

  • 16 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 3.59 am

    bashar inherited his father’s position and security apparatus that killed 10 000’s of syrians and started his own 99%-vote elections.
    as for the human rights situation in syria since 2000…there is no positive evolution but the things are going worse since the end of the so called spring of damascus.
    bashar share small part of the power,but most of the power still moukhabarat property.

  • 17 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 7.08 am

    ?????? ??????? ????? ???????

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    ??? ??? ????????? ??????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ????? ????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ?? ???????? ????? ???????? ?? ????? ????? ?? ?? ????? ????? ????? ???? ????? ????????. ???? ???? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ?????????? ?? ??????? ??????? ?? ??? ?????? ??? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????.
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    ????? ?????? ??????? ????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ????????. ???? ??? ?????? ???? ???? ?? ??????? ?? ???? ????? ???? ???? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ??? ??????? ??????? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ????? ??????? ?? ????? ????? ??????? ?????????. ???? ????? ??? ??????? ????? ???? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?? ??? ???????.

  • 18 Anonymous // Jun 2, 2005 at 12.47 pm

    “bashar inherited his father’s position” and bush inhereted clinton’s position, so?

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