[Editor's note: Due to the latest crisis in Lebanon and Israel, posting on The Syria Monitor has taken a temporary back seat. Regular posting will resume as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience and the long absence. In the meantime, here is a quick round-up of some recent developments. For commentary on the Lebanon crisis, please visit Across the Bay.]
7/16 - A couple of regime thugs assaulted dissident Riad Seif, a few feet away from the state security branch where he was called in for review on Sunday, July 16. After the session was over, the two thugs jumped him and brutally beat him. He was taken to a hospital for treatment. (Arabic. SHRC, 7/20/06).
The statement by Muhannad Hussni of the Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC) noted that a week before the assault, Seif had published an article on ME Transparent discussing the cell phone contracts in Syria (a monopoly controlled by Bashar Assad's cousin). It was the same topic that had landed him a 5-year prison sentence.
7/27 - A judge ordered the continued detention of Ali Abdallah and his son Muhammad, and delayed his trial on account of him not carrying proper identification papers. The Abdallahs are being held for disseminating news abroad that financially harm the state and for defaming the head of state and a judge. (Arabic. Levant News, 7/27/06).
Meanwhile, a session was held in the trial of dissident Kamal Labwani, where his lawyer requested the two televised interviews be played in court. Labwani is accused of inciting a foreign state to attack Syria. The charge is based on his statements on al-Hurra and al-Mustaqilla channels.
Another session was held in the trial of activist Fateh Jamous, who is charged with undermining the state abroad. Jamous denied the charges, saying he does not wish to undermine the state or its unity, and is willing to defend it at all cost against any aggression, but a difference should be made between the state and the authorities. Jamous is also being charged based on his TV appearance while in Britain this past March. He maintains that he rejects foreign intervention, stressing that democratic change is essential, but must take place openly, peacefully, and gradually.
7/28 - The Syrian authorities have banned lawyer Muhannad Hussni, president of the Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC), from traveling to participate in an NGO workshop in Amman on July 27. (Arabic. SHRC, 7/28/06). The ban was ordered by the state security apparatus.
Similarly, lawyer Ahmad Manjouna was forbidden from leaving the country on July 27 and told that he's been on a travel ban since July 4. In the past, Manjouna had been banned from traveling for ten years.