Monday, September 15, 2008

Syrian authorities turn away delegation from Reporters Without Borders

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

DAMASCUS: A delegation from press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was refused entry into Syria from Lebanon, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCMFE) said on Monday. The group, including RSF general secretary Robert Menard and Middle East and North Africa head Hager Simony, together with two journalists, had planned to visit the families of detained Syrian reporters, the SCMFE said.

"The delegation spent about four hours at the Syrian border on Saturday awaiting approval to enter Syrian territory, but without much success," it added. "The SCMFE denounces the procedures of the passport and immigration authorities on the Syrian-Lebanese borders."

The statement said the group was told by the Information Ministry that they were refused entry because of a decision by "competent bodies," but failed to identify the specific authorities responsible.

The group had also planned to make a private visit to the family of lawyer and human rights activist Anwar Bunni, who was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2007 for "spreading false information" damaging to Syria.

SCMFE president Mazen Darwish said the group returned to the border on Sunday after "receiving promises" they would be granted entry, but they were not.

Also on Monday, Syria's National Organization for Human Rights (NOHR), a civil society group, said that a court had jailed 50 members of the Kurdish minority community for between four and six months on charges tied to a protest three years ago.

NOHR said the suspects were arrested in 2005 for having taken part in a rally to protest the assassination of a prominent cleric. Their sentences were handed down Sunday, it added. -


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home