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Resolution adopted unanimously by the Governing Council
at its 175th session (Geneva, 1st October 2004)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Mamoun Al-Homsi, a former member of the Peopleís Council of the Syrian Arab Republic, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/175/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 174th session (April 2004),

Taking account of the information provided by the Syrian delegation at the hearing held with the Committee on the occasion of the 111th Assembly (September 2004),

Recalling that Mr. Al-Homsi was arrested on 8 August 2001 following the publication of an open letter calling in particular for observance of the Constitution, the lifting of the state of emergency, a halt to the intrusions of the intelligence services into daily life, and the establishment of a parliamentary human rights committee; he was charged with, inter alia, "defaming the Constitution and displaying a hostile attitude towards the Government"; having been found guilty on 20 March 2002, he was sentenced to five yearsí imprisonment, a judgment upheld on appeal on 24 June 2002, recalling also that Mr. Al-Homsiís state of health is said to have considerably deteriorated in detention,

Recalling further that, at the hearing held in September 2002, the then President of the Peopleís Council stated that the Councilís Bureau would propose a special amnesty in favour of Mr. Al Homsi so that he might be released in the course of October 2002; however, no such action was taken and the Committee was only informed on 10 January 2003 that on 16 December 2002 the term of the Peopleís Council had expired; at the hearing held on the occasion of the 108th Conference (April 2003), the new President of the Council stated that Parliament had no competence to grant an amnesty but he undertook to intercede with the Head of State in favour of the granting of an amnesty to Mr. Al Homsi; at the hearing held on the occasion of the 109th Assembly (October 2003), the Syrian delegation stated that, as a consequence of an amnesty, Mr. Al Homsiís prison term had been reduced by one third; finally, at the hearing during the 110th Assembly (April 2004), the Syrian delegation stated that in October 2003 Parliament had requested the President of the Republic to pardon Mr. Al Homsi; an ad hoc commission had been set up to study his case together with that of Mr. Riad Seef, and both might be released shortly,

Considering that, after the meeting the Secretary General had with President Bashar al-Assad on the occasion of his visit to Damascus in March 2004, during which he raised the case of Mr. Al Homsi, he was told that a decision in principle had been taken to release Mr. Al Homsi,

Considering nevertheless that, at the hearing held in Geneva (September 2004), the Syrian delegation affirmed that the President could only grant an amnesty if the person concerned had lodged a petition; this was not the case of Mr. Al Homsi as it had turned out after the Secretary Generalís visit; Parliamentís Committee on Constitutional Affairs, which then met, confirmed that a pardon petition was necessary for the President to consider a case and Mr. Al Homsi was informed accordingly; however, he has refused to submit such a petition; considering that, according to the delegation, the Parliament remained committed to action in favour of Mr. Al Homsiís pardoning,

Noting that, according to the delegation, Mr. Al-Homsi has not been granted a one-third reduction of his sentence because a convict had statutorily to serve three quarters of his sentence before being entitled to such reduction and, even then, only after having lodged an application for that purpose,

Noting finally that, according to one of the sources, Mr. Al Homsiís defence counsel has lodged an appeal in the State Security Court against the verdict handed down on Mr. Al Homsi in March 2002, with a view to reversing that verdict,

  1. Thanks the Syrian delegation for the information provided;

  2. Is perplexed at the different information provided by the Syrian authorities over time as to the prospect of Mr. Al Homsiís being granted an amnesty or pardon and as to whether or not his sentence had been reduced; deplores this state of affairs;

  3. Fails to understand why, two years after the question of an amnesty was raised for the first time and one year after an ad hoc committee was set up to study the matter, the parliamentary authorities only now discover that a petition had to be submitted to the President for an amnesty to be granted, and that Mr. Al Homsi did not do so;

  4. Is dismayed that such ignorance of procedure has considerably delayed the consideration of a pardon for Mr. Al-Homsi, with the result that he has now already served more than half of his sentence;

  5. Would appreciate receiving a copy of the legal provisions governing pardon and amnesty;

  6. Wishes to ascertain whether Mr. Al Homsi intends to submit a pardon petition, which, according to the authorities, does not entail any admission of guilt;

  7. Wishes to ascertain whether a case against the verdict handed down on Mr. Al Homsi in August 2002 is indeed being heard by the State Security Court;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to inform the authorities accordingly;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 112th Assembly (April 2005).

* The Syrian delegation took the floor to comment on the resolution. Its observations may be found in the Summary Records of the 175th session of the Governing Council.


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