The Syrian security services stopped activist Dr. Radwan Ziadeh at the border and did not allow him to travel to Jordan. (Arabic. Elaph, 6/26/06).
Ziadeh is the director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies, an unauthorized human rights organization. He travels extensively to lecture at various institutes and organizations, and to participate in conferences and workshops for human rights organizations. He told AKI that travel bans "have become a type of collective punishment" against Syrian activists and intellectuals, adding that it was "a violation of the rights of the Syrian citizen, guaranteed by the constitution and the law." (Arabic. 6/27/06). He pointed out that the travel ban "now affects a large number of activists without any legal or judicial basis."
A statement by Ammar Qurabi of the National Organization for Human Rights (NOHR) condemned the ban as illegal as it was not issued by a judge, but by the security services and without any explanation.
The authorities use bans as punishment for activists and dissidents. There are many activists who are currently under a travel ban, including lawyer Haitham al-Maleh, who was forbidden from traveling to the Netherlands to receive a human rights award. Also, almost two weeks ago (6/5), writer Lu'ay Hussein was not allowed to cross into Lebanon where he was to appear on a talk show on Al-Hurra TV.
Meanwhile, dissident Ma'moun Homsi, who recently left Syria for Jordan to campaign for the release of political prisoners, was asked by the Jordanian authorities to leave Jordan (Reuters, 6/22/06). Homsi told Reuters, "I left after they told me that the kingdom regrets not receiving me because of the sensitivity concerning ties with neighboring countries." Relations between Syria and Jordan have grown tense iespecially last month when the Jordanians discovered a Hamas arms cache smuggled from Syria.
Homsi added, "I continue to demand freedom for political prisioners, and for the international community to do more to improve human rights conditions in Syria." He declined to say where he intended to move, but it was said it would likely not be to Lebanon. (Arabic. Elaph, 6/21/06).
The Elaph report noted that the Homsi case, and before it, the visit by a Muslim Brotherhood delegation to Lebanon, indicate that Damascus is very sensitive about neighboring countries hosting Syrian dissidents.