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Artist killed, activists detained, journalists' houses targeted

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, 15 February 2012 - ANHRI deeply condemns the ongoing Arab and international silence over the targeting of Syrian activists, artists, and journalists as part of the organized campaign waged by the forces of Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad to crush the Syrian revolution.

Hundreds of protesters, activists, artists, and media practitioners are killed on a daily basis by the bullets of the security forces. On 7 February, the artist Mathna al-Ma'sarany, a painter and sculptor who decorates glass, died after being shot by a sniper's bullet in al-Insha'at district in the city of Homs. He had been supportive of the revolution since its outbreak.

In a separate incident, the home of Nidal Hemeidy, a correspondent for al-Jadid channel, was bombed in al-Maghara village of Jabal al-Zawya in the province of Idlib. In the same village, armed groups torched the home of Mohamed Khaled al-Kheder, a writer and poet.

On the same day of 7 February, the military public prosecution of Damascus filed a lawsuit against writer Bassam Jneid and journalist Diana Jabour, editor-in-chief of "Baladna" newspaper, on charges of "undermining the reputation and dignity of the Syrian army" and "criticizing the actions of the general command". These accusations stem from Jneid's article "Lets now dedicate ourselves to a homeland called Syria" published in "Baladna" newspaper on 23 November 2011. Because of this article, the Ministry of Information confiscated copies of the paper from newsstands.

On 6 February, the Military security detained political activists Ibrahim Khalil Bru and Mohamed Youssef, along with three others, as they returned to Syria from the Kurdistan region in Iraq where they participated in a conference for the Kurdish community abroad.

"The targeting of activists, media practitioners, and protesters by killing, intimidation, detention, or prosecution in Syria takes place in full view of governments in the whole world. However, these governments have taken no real action but have sufficed with condemnation and fragile demands on an illegitimate regime that kills its freedom-seeking people in cold blood," said ANHRI.

"Freedom of opinion and expression in Syria are in a catastrophic state due to a series of violations by the security and military forces of the Syrian dictator against protesters and activists who are falling by the hundreds every day. How long is the Arab and international silence going to last on this situation that is getting worse day by day?" added ANHRI.

ANHRI calls on Arab and international civil society organizations to come together in solidarity in order to expose all the abuses committed against Syrian activists and media practitioners and to present these to the whole world.

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