Syrian Activist Yara Shammas Facing Possible Death Sentence
|April 27, 2012|
The following excerpt originally appeared on Reporters Without Borders, click here to access the original article. This excerpt is the latest update on the state of imprisoned Syrian dissident Yara Shammas, whose imprisonment CyberDissidents.org reported on March, 12, 2012.
As United Nations observers try to carry out their mission with considerable difficulty, Reporters Without Borders would like to draw attention to the Assad regime’s many violations of freedom of information, which include jailing those who have the courage to inform us about the situation in Syria.
“We call for the immediate release of all the professional journalists, citizen journalists and netizens jailed by the regime,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Syrian authorities have undertaken to carry out Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which envisages the release of all prisoners of conscience. It is high time the authorities kept their promises.”
Reporters Without Borders is particularly concerned about the fate of Yara Michel Shammas, 21, who was arrested with 11 other activists in a café in the old part of Damascus on 7 March and was transferred to a prison in Homs. Nine new charges were brought against her on 22 April, including one under article 298 of the criminal code which carries the death penalty.
Article 298 says: “A life sentence of forced labour will be passed on anyone committing an act that aims to cause a civil war or communal strife by arming Syrian citizens or inciting them to take up arms against each other, or to incite a massacre or looting in one or more localities. If this act achieves its aim, the guilty party will be sentenced to death.”
An information technology specialist, Shammas is the daughter of Michel Shammas, a well-known human rights lawyer active on Facebook. Anwar Al-Bonni, the head of the Syrian Centre for Legal Study and Research, said “what is happening to Yara Michel Shammas is clearly a way of putting pressure on the lawyer Shammas.”
To read the rest of the article, and the state of more dissidents imprisoned by the Syrian regime, click here.