Syrian political prisoners near death

March 4, 1992

Syrian political prisoners near death

By Sean Malloy

Abdul Aziz Al-Khayer and Bahjat Shaabu were arrested in Syria on February 1 for being leaders of the Communist Action Party, a progressive opposition group to the Syrian dictatorship. Subjected to intense torture, they may die or be crippled for life.

Six other political prisoners in Syria are close to death from illness and neglect.

Syria has approximately 10,000 political prisoners, ranging from right-wing organisations such as the Muslim Brotherhood to communist organisations, as well as nationalist and human rights activists.

Four hundred of these prisoners are members of the Communist Action Party, which has organised around demands for democratic rights and the release of all political prisoners. Another organisation called Committees for the Defence of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights (CDF) has six of its members in prison.

Political activists arrested by one of Syria's 15 intelligence services are held without a trial or legal recourse. They are often subjected to torture and denied medical treatment.

Letters of support can be sent to the French address of the CDF, 27 rue des Quatre Moulins, 27400, Louviers, France. Letters of appeal can be sent to the Syrian consul to Australia, 9 Belmore St, Arncliffe NSW 2205.

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