Human Rights in Syria
Delivered in Plenary - 8th September 2010
Last year I met the son of Haythan Al-Maleh in Brussels. He was seeking support for the release of his father. Mr Al-Maleh has a distinguished history as a human rights defender and jurist, and has been a frequent critic of the Al-Assad Baathist dictatorship in Syria over the years.
Mr Al-Maleh is a sickly elderly gentleman and should be released on humanitarian grounds – not that he has committed any crimes, except falling foul of the emergency and repressive laws against dissidents in Syria that have been in place for more than 40 years.
Syria, sadly, is a problematic state harbouring known terrorists, having suspicious arms dealings with North Korea – including possible nuclear ambitions – and being close to that very roguish state, Iran, on political grounds. I appeal now to the Syrian leadership and its President to improve its deplorable human rights record and release Mr Al-Maleh.