We were recently sent a statement of prisoners of conscience in the Damascus Central Prison (Adra), announcing their hunger strike demanding an end to political arrests, the removal of injustices and the restitution of rights that have been removed from civil and political life. They are being kept in terrible conditions, such as having no beds, being served bad food and with no access to a doctor.
“By March 8 it will be 48 years since a military coup led to the declaration of a state of emergency by a non-elected group, and it will soon be the seventh anniversary of the martyrdom of the Syrian Kurds in the massacre of March 12. The situation has remained one of a lawless rulership governing over Syria to this day. Still we have the influence of the security services using state political despotism, and using the judiciary, which they dominate, to eliminate freedom of opinion and expression and to crush dissent, through fabricated charges and arbitrary sentences, citing the state of war waged by the Authorities on the community and on their rights and livelihoods, making all layers of the Syrian people suffer at the hands of despotism and corruption. We have paid dearly for the cause of truth and freedom, and it is time to abolish this oppressive totalitarianism, in line with the winds of democratic change sweeping the Arab world. The enshrined rights claimed by the people, which are considered right and legitimate in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries also apply to Syria as well.
“We have therefore decided to declare ourselves as prisoners of conscience in Adra prison, and we declare a hunger strike demanding an end to political arrests and for the removal of injustices and the restitution of rights that have been taken from civil and political life.”
Signatories to the statement are: Haitham al-Maleh, Habib Saleh, Mustafa Juma, Ali Al-Abdullah, Mahmoud Parish, Kamal Labwani, Mohammed Saeed Age, Mashaal Tammo, Anwar al-Bunni, Behind Jerboa, Saadoun Shehu, Ismail Abdi (German of Syrian origin), Kamal Shehu. (On all-out strike).
We ask our readers to express solidarity with the detainees on hunger strike and demand that the Syrian government immediately releases them, and that it ceases to harass people for their political opinions.
[Original appeal published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in Arabic]