wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05DAMASCUS6474 2005-12-13 14:13:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Damascus
Cable title:  

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY EXPRESSES GENERAL

Tags:   PHUM PGOV SY 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #6474 3471413
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131413Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6112
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0546
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L DAMASCUS 006474 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PARIS FOR ZEYA, LONDON FOR TSOU

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/13/2015
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SY
SUBJECT: HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNITY EXPRESSES GENERAL
SATISFACTION WITH LATEST WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT


Classified By: CDA Stephen Seche for reasons 1.4(b)/(d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Human rights activists in general reacted
positively to the December 10 White House statement calling
for Syrian Government to release all prisoners of conscience,
including the six remaining Damascus Spring detainees, as
well as Kamal Labwani, Nizar Rastanawi, and Habib Saleh.
However, one activist continued his pleas for statements to
include Islamist suspects, while another stated her doubts
that the statements will have any effect on SARG policy. END
SUMMARY.



2. (C) Human rights activists Anwar al-Bunni and Radwan
Zyadeh expressed satisfaction with the White House statement
to Poloff in separate meetings, particularly the timing and
the statement's inclusion of different activists. Family
members of a number of political prisoners and detainees had
expressed their satisfaction with the statement to human
rights activist Rezan Zeituneh, who admitted to Poloff that
this support from the families had helped her overcome her
initial skepticism about whether the statements might be
harmful to the prisoners' well-being. Bunni noted that the
statement, combined with the December 10 granting of the 2005
Reporters Without Borders Prize to Kurdish Syrian journalist
Massoud Hamid, helped enormously in drawing attention to the
Syrian situation on Human Rights Day. Bunni joked that he
had written a statement for Human Rights Day with nearly the
exact same language used by the White House but was unable to
distribute it because he had no fax access. He said that it
was good luck that he had not distributed it; otherwise, he
would have been chastised for being too close to the USG.



3. (C) However, skepticism still exists among some human
rights activists regarding the U.S.'s commitment to improving
the situation of political prisoners and/or the ability of
the USG to affect SARG policy. Human rights lawyer Haithem
al-Maleh emphasized that the statements should include
Islamists as well, because they make up the majority of
political prisoners and detainees. He asserted that the USG
was not concerned about their well-being. His associate,
Salim Kheirbek, noted that the Islamists should have their
fair day in an open court instead of under the opaque
conditions of the Supreme State Security Court. Zeituneh,
reverting to her initial skepticism, told Poloff that the USG
statements were simply for the press to make it look like the
USG was doing something on human rights, but doubted that
such statements would have much effect on SARG policy.
SECHE