Syria: Writer and academic Aref Dalila released

English PEN welcomes the release of Dr. Aref Dalila, a writer, leading economist and dissident, who was freed on 7 August 2008, after seven years in prison. He was arrested on 9 September 2001 and sentenced in early 2002 to ten years’ imprisonment with hard labour for his dissident writings. English PEN welcomes his amnesty, but reiterates its concern about the number of writers still detained in Syria, and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory.

 

Dr. Aref Dalila, former Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Economics at Damascus University and one of the “Damascus Spring” activists, was arrested for a lecture in which he called for democracy and transparency, and alleged official corruption. Dalila was subsequently charged with trying to change the constitution by force, through the weakening of national sentiment, by distributing false news and causing racial and sectarian tensions. His trial at the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC) did not comply with international standards of due process.

 

Dr. Dalila wrote for the banned weekly Al-Doumari and has published many books on economics, politics and social history. While in prison he was reported to be in poor health, further exacerbated by the poor living standards within the prison as well as harsh treatment.

 

Soon after his release, Dr. Dalila told the BBC that ‘his views had not changed and that he would continue to voice them.’
(For the full BBC report click on http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7547647.stm)

 

Relevant information
Please click on the links below for more background information and English PEN’s previous appeals for Aref Dalila.
/writersinprison/prisoners/arefdalila/
/writersinprison/rapid_actions/drarefdalila/
 
Please send appeals

– Welcoming the release of writer and dissident Dr Aref Dalila;
– Demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Syria in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory.

 

Addresses
His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street       
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:  963 11 332 3410

 

His Excellency General Ghazi Kan’an
Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:  963 11 222 3428

 

Please also copy your appeals to the Syrian diplomatic representative in United Kingdom:

 

His Excellency Dr. Sami Khiyami
Embassy of Syria Arab Republic
8 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PH
Fax: 020 7235 4621


 

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/bulletins/syriawriterandacademicarefdalilareleased/

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