Syrian political prisoners go on
Today, 13 Syrian political prisoners have
begun a hunger strike to demand their release and the lifting of
emergency laws that give authorities a free hand to jail political and
human rights activists, a rights group said Monday.
The prisoners include prominent human rights activist Haitham al-Maleh,
according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Al-Maleh, who is
80 years old and has diabetes and thyroid problems, has been under
arrest since October 2009. He was jailed from 1980 until 1986 for
demanding constitutional reforms.
The rights group said the activists launched the hunger strike in
Damascus' Adra prison. The political detainees also include Ali Abdullah
of the Damascus Declaration opposition group, prominent lawyer Anwar
al-Bunni and Kurdish activist Mashaal Tammo.
The political detainees demanded an end to the emergency laws in force
since the Baath Party came to power in 1963.
"Time has come to end this persecution matter as the winds of democratic
change spread in the Arab world," the political detainees were quoted as
saying in a statement from the rights group.
The rights group said it backs the detainees and called for their