Annual Report: Syria 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Syria 2011

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  • Luqman Ibrahim Hussein and three others were detained for 39 days apparently for observing a protest of one minute's silence on 10 September in 'Amudah. They were protesting against Legislative Decree 49 of 2008, which further restricted housing and property rights in border areas, including the predominantly Kurdish-populated north-east border areas. On 9 November, while free on bail, the four were sentenced to one month in prison but were not detained as they had already spent over a month in jail.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

Syria continued to host hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees who had access to its education and health infrastructures, but continued to be denied the right to work.

On 1 February, the authorities and UN agencies permanently closed the desolate camp at al-Tanf in the border area between Iraq and Syria, where Palestinian refugees who were long-term residents of Iraq had lived. Out of the 1,300 Palestinian refugees who had lived at different times in the camp, around 1,000 were relocated to third countries while the rest were temporarily moved to al-Hol camp in north-east Syria.

Death penalty

Death sentences continued to be imposed and at least 17 people were executed, although the true number may have been much higher. The authorities rarely disclose information about executions.

  • Eliaza al-Saleh, Ahmed al-'Abbas and Mazen Bassouni were executed on 4 November. All three had been convicted of murdering Eliaza al-Saleh's husband. Evidence that she had suffered years of physical and sexual abuse by her husband was apparently ignored at her trial and appeal. Her family learned of her execution three days after it was carried out.

In December, Syria was one of a minority of states that voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.