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CFSP Statements


Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the arrest of Mr Riyad Seif and detention of other activists of the Damascus Declaration

Recalling the Presidency Statement of 27 September 2007 and the Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union of 31 December 2007, the European Union condemns the arrest on 28 January 2008 of Mr Riyad Seif, the prominent member of the democratic opposition and former Member of the Syrian Parliament.

The European Union's serious concern relates also to the detention of eleven other signatories of the quoted Declaration, namely Mr Ahmed Tomeh, Mr Jaber El Choufi, Mr Akram El Bounni, Mr Walid El Bounni, Mr Mohammed Yasser El Aiti, Mrs Fida Hourani, Mr Ali Abdallah, Mr Fayez Sara, Mr Mohammed Hajji Darwish, Mr Marwan El Eich, Mr Talal Abu Dan, as well as all other prisoners of conscience and political prisoners.

The European Union calls for the immediate release of Mr Riyad Seif and the other eleven prisoners, who peacefully expressed their opinions and called for democratic reforms in Syria. Fearing for their safety and physical integrity, especially because of the serious health condition of Mr Riyad Seif and some other detainees, the European Union urges the Syrian authorities to respect international laws and standards and to assure to all detainees the appropriate conditions of detention and suitable medical treatment.

The European Union calls on the Syrian Government to reconsider all cases of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in accordance with its national Constitution and international commitments, specifically the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Syria has signed and ratified in 1969 and that clearly states the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and the right to be treated with humanity and respect when deprived of liberty. In this sense the European Union invites Syrian authorities to re-establish dialogue with Syrian civil society.

The Candidate Countries, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process."


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Date: 01.02.2008