The prisoners of conscience held in the Adra prison outside Damascus have declared they will begin a week-long hunger strike starting Tuesday, June 6 to protest their arrest and treatment (Arabic. Elaph, 6/3/06).
The prisoners issued a statement excerpts of which were published by UPI (Arabic. Via al-Mustaqbal, 6/4/06): "We the prisoners of conscience in the Adra central prison: Fateh Jamous, Mahmoud Issa, Michel Kilo, Khalil Hussein, Anwar al-Bunni, Ali Abdallah, Muhammad Abdallah, Suleiman Shammar, Nidal Darwish, Safwan Tayfour, Mahmoud Mer'i, Ghaleb Amer, Kamal al-Lawbani, and Mahmoud Mahfoud, declare that we protest the entire process of our arrest in principle, as well as our treatment. We protest the bad conditions we've been subjected to and live in."
The statement went on to say: "we demand our release in order to await our trial out of prison. For all of these reasons we declare a hunger strike for one week starting on Tusday, June 6, knowing that many of the participants are in bad health conditions."
Anwar al-Bunni is still on his hunger strike, twenty days later, surviving only on water. Bunni's wife expressed her concern about his health, and asked for a medical committee to be allowed to check on him in prison, saying that he had lost more than 7 Kgs and is showing signs of fragility and exhaustion (Arabic. AKI, 6/1/06). She held the Syrian government responsible for any harm that may befall him, expressing fears that the strike may pose a risk to his life.
A statement released by the National Organization for Human Rights (NOHR) and published by Elaph said that on Saturday, a group of lawyers visited Michel Kilo, Mahmoud Mer'i, Anwar al-Bunni, Nidal Darwish, Khalil Hussein, Fateh Jamous, Ghaleb Amer, Muhammad Mahfoud and Suleiman al-Shammar, and held a group meeting with them at the Adra prison (Arabic. Via "Free Syria," 6/4/06).
The statement said that the lawyers updated the prisoners on their movements and latest preparations for their defense. The prisoners in turn relayed through the lawyers that their morale was high, and they sent a message to the opposition urging it to hold its ground and continue to push the envelope and cooperate with all international rights organizations to secure their release from prison.
The NOHR statement claimed that one of the lawyers, Muhannad al-Husni of the Syrian human rights organization Sawasiya, had presented the prisoners with a written proposal allegedly drafted with the security services but it was rejected by the detainees. No information about its content was provided. Al-Husni denied any such proposal or that he was carrying a "security deal" (Arabic. Al-Hayat, 6/5/06). He did say that a number of rights organizations have agreed to send a letter to the Syrian President that would reiterate the opposition's refusal to work with foreign powers and that would propose a patriotic solution to the crisis.