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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 174rd session (Mexico, 23 April 2004)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Mamoun AlHomsi, a former member of the People’s Council of the Syrian Arab Republic, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/174/12(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 173rd session (October 2003),

Taking account of the information provided by the Syrian delegation at the hearing held on the occasion of the 110th Assembly (April 2004),

Recalling that Mr. AlHomsi was arrested on 9 August 2001, following the publication of an open letter in which he called, inter alia, for the observance of the Constitution, the lifting of the state of emergency, a strengthening of the judiciary, pursuit of the fight against corruption, a halt to the intrusion of the security services in daily life, an increased role for the People’s Council, and the establishment of a parliamentary committee for the protection of human rights; he was subsequently charged with attempting to change the Constitution by unlawful means, preventing the authorities from carrying out their duties, undermining national unity, tarnishing the reputation of the State, impeding the functioning of its institutions, and insulting the legislative, executive and judicial branches; on 20 March 2002, the Second Penal Court of Damascus sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment, which he is at present serving; one of the three judges delivered a dissenting opinion pointing out that, as an elected MP, Mr. Al-Homsi should enjoy the freedom of speech guaranteed to him under Article 38 of the Constitution and held that the court had failed to take into account the arguments put forward by the defence team and Mr. Al-Homsi himself; the observers from the European Union qualified the trial as falling short of internationally accepted standards of fair trial; moreover, Mr. Al-Homsi’s health has deteriorated in detention as he reportedly does not receive the necessary medical treatment for his diabetes,

Recalling that, given its concerns that Mr. AlHomsi may have been prosecuted on account of acts that constitute peaceful and legitimate exercise of his right to freedom of expression, it called on the Head of the State to grant Mr. AlHomsi an amnesty and called on the Syrian Parliament to relay its plea favourably to him,

Noting that, on the occasion of his attending the 11th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in Damascus on 1 and 2 March 2004, the Secretary General was granted a meeting with the Head of the State and took the opportunity to relay to him the IPU Governing Council's plea for an amnesty in favour of Mr. AlHomsi,

Considering that, according to the Syrian delegation, in October 2003 Parliament requested the President of the Republic to pardon Mr. AlHomsi; an ad hoc commission has been set up to study his case together with that of Mr. Riad Seef, and that both may be released shortly,

  1. Thanks the Syrian delegation for the information provided;

  2. Appreciates the fact that the Syrian Parliament requested the Head of State to grant Mr. AlHomsi an amnesty, and sincerely hopes that he will indeed be released soon;

  3. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the competent authorities and to the sources;

  4. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September-October 2004), when it hopes to be able to close it on account of its settlement.

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