Caspian Weekly, August 24th 2010
Written by Nir BOMS
Ten years ago, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad replaced his father as president. It was a moment of hope for many in Syria. One of those who rejoiced was Ali Abdullah, a writer, activist, and partner to the Damascus Declaration, a process that produced a document calling for political reform and an end to the emergency law. But in 2007 Abdullah was arrested along with 40 others who signed the declaration. After two-and-a-half years in prison, coinciding with the festivities celebrating Assad’s first decade in power, Abdullah was brought up on additional charges. Abdullah must now appear before a military court as a result of statements he made from prison about Lebanese-Syrian relations and electoral fraud committed by the Iranian government.
In a very different form of marking ten years of the Syrian Regime, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published an open letter detailing Press and Internet freedom violations in Syria. Joel Simon, Executive Director of the CPJ, reminded Bashar Al-Assad that in his constitutional oath, a decade ago, the President said that “constructive criticism” is a central pillar of developing Syria. In 2007, when Assad was sworn in for his second term, he noted that the success of reform is linked with “providing citizens with the correct information.” Continue reading