The Syrian security services raided the office of lawyer Hassan Abdel Azim, spokesperson for the National Democratic Gathering, and broke up a meeting of one of the committees of the Damascus Declaration that was being held there. (Arabic. Levant News, 6/29/06). This comes after the National Council of the Damascus Declaration held a large meeting in the house of dissident Riad Seif.
According to information received by Levant News, a state security patrol raided Abdel Azim's office on June 29 and confiscated documents related to the meeting and to the work of the Damascus Declaration. The state security services also ordered George Sabra, a member of the secretariat of the Syrian People's Party, to report to its headquarters immediately.
The report added that the Syrian regime had stepped up its campaign against activists and their meetings, and had banned all forums and gatherings, even those of a cultural nature. Abdel Azim himself is awaiting trial for charges of "possessing and distributing unlicensed publications," in reference to "the Democratic Stand," a publication that the National Democratic Gathering had been issuing for years. He is due to appear before a military court on July 11. (Arabic. Elaph, 6/29/06).
Abdel Azim also said that the raiding of his office was "part of the ongoing escalation against the national opposition in Syria." (Arabic. Elaph, 6/30/06). He added that the security services broke into his office without any warrant, using as pretext the meeting of a limited number of members of the follow-up and coordination committee of the Damascus Declaration; a total of five people." He added, "it's a new way to violate the sanctity of homes and private offices, insult the dignity of citizens, restrict basic freedoms, and ignore human rights. It's a total confiscation of the freedom of the national democratic opposition, in order to paralyze its ability to practice its role and activity even at the most minium level. The regime and its apparatuses insist on the method of tyranny, repression, and negation of the other, paying no mind to constitutional texts and international charters."
The Elaph report notes that one of the regime-run official newspapers had launched an assault on the opposition accusing it of treason and of contributing one way or the other to the international pressures on Syria, especially from the US.