AKI reports that the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR) has called for a sit-in next Saturday in the Human Rights Square in Paris to call for the release of prisoners of conscience in Syria (Arabic. AKI via "Free Syria," 5/25/06). The spokesman for the AOHR, Dr. Haitham al-Manna', praised the declaration by 32 Arab and European NGOs that they would participate in the sit-in.
"Saturday's sit-in in Paris is part of a series of activities in Europe aimed at calling on European and international Human Rights organizations to put an end to arbitrary detentions in Syria and the Arab world," Manna' said.
According to Manna', there has also been contact with the European Parliament, part of an effort to persuade it to pass a resolution condemning arbitrary arrests in Syria. Similarly, there has been contact with organizations concerned with the defense and protection of journalists, since many of the Syrian detainees are journalists.
The AOHR had launched an international petition calling for the release of all prisoners of conscience and condemning "systematic repression" by the Syrian regime. It labeled the latest wave of arrests "part of the dictatorial and totalitarian policy of the regime [which includes]: systematic abuse of freedoms and human rights, extra-judicial and arbitrary arrests, torturing, terrorizing, and mock trials." The petition mentioned the names of the detainees like Michel Kilo, Fateh Jamous and Anwar al-Bunni, along with other imprisoned activists such as Aref Dalilah, Ali Abdallah, Nizar Rastanawi, and Riad Drar.