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EOHR condemns detention of human rights activist

(EOHR/IFEX) - 28 April 2011 - The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its condemnation of the arrest of human rights activist Rasim Al Atasy, former president of the Arab Organization of Human Rights and a current member of its board of trustees. Al Atasy was arrested at noon on 27 April, in Homs, north of Damascus.

This detention is considered an intimidation of human rights activists by Syrian authorities to stop them from monitoring human rights violations committed against the Syrian people who are calling for political and legislative reforms and freedom to pursue a life full of liberty, dignity and justice.

According to some news reports, the Syrian authorities forced two young men from Homs to say that Al Atasy urged them to start a riot during the peaceful demonstrations that swept Syria.

EOHR notes that the practices of the Syrian authorities are not complying with international human rights covenants and conventions, in particular Article 12 of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The second paragraph of Article 12 states:

"The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration".

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the chairman of EOHR, stressed that the arrest of Al Atasy by the Syrian authorities is a crime. The responsibility for Al Atasy's safety falls in the hands of the Syrian government. Abu Seada called for the activist's unconditional and immediate release, He further urged the government to respond to the legitimate demands of the protestors and to put an end to the gratuitous use of violence against its own people.

Abu Seada expressed EOHR's support for Al Atasy and the demands for reform by the Syrian people, and he added that EOHR will spare no effort until the release of Al Atasy and all political detainees is secured.

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