Languages
Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Syria dissident jail terms 'cut'

Riad Seif (file photo)
One of those sentenced is Riad Seif, a former MP who is sick with cancer

Syria has reduced the sentences of 12 pro-democracy activists from six years to two-and-a-half years each in prison, a human rights group has said.

The Damascus criminal court judge gave no reason for the revised sentences, and said the dissidents could appeal.

The 11 men and one woman - all signatories to the Damascus Declaration calling for democratic change - have been jailed since December or January.

Amnesty International has called for the group's release.

Prominent dissident Riad Seif, a former MP who suffers from advanced prostate cancer, was among those jailed for having "damaged the state".

Others included the group's leader and only woman Fidaa Horani, and writers Ali Abdullah and Akram Bunni.

Following a meeting of the pro-democracy group known last December, its members were rounded up and charged with spreading false information, belonging to a secret organisation and promoting sectarian strife.

The case has drawn international condemnation from human rights groups and Western governments, including the US.

Ammar Qurabi, of the National Organisation for Human Rights, in Syria expressed "deep shock" at the verdicts and called for the immediate release of the defendants, saying they had exercised "their right of freedom of expression."

Amnesty International has also called for the activists' release, as well as an investigation into allegations of torture against some of them.

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Syria releases American reporters
09 Oct 08 |  Middle East
Country profile: Syria
01 Oct 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Syria
16 Oct 08 |  Country profiles

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific