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Resolution adopted by consensus by the Governing Council
at its 177th session (Geneva, 19th October 2005)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Mamoun Al-Homsi, a former member of the People's Council of the Syrian Arab Republic, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/177/11(a)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 176th session (April 2005),

Taking account of information provided by one of the sources on 23 June and 13 July 2005; also considering that the Secretary General raised this case with the Speaker of the People's Assembly and other members of parliament during his visit to the Syrian Arab Republic in July 2005,

Recalling the following:

  • Mr. Mamoun Al-Homsi was arrested on 8 August 2001, charged with "defamation of the Constitution, and displaying a hostile attitude towards the Government" and found guilty on 20 March 2002, when he was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for publishing 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 setting up of a parliamentary human rights committee; in the light of the information gathered by its on-site mission of May 2002, the Commiteee concluded that Mr. Al-Homsi had been sentenced on account of having exercised his constitutional right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly; it has therefore consistently called on the Head of State and on parliament to grant Mr. Al-Homsi an amnesty and so to ensure his early release;

  • While the parliamentary authorities initially stated that Mr. Al-Homsi would be granted an amnesty and provided information on the steps parliament had taken to that end, they later affirmed that Mr. Al-Homsi had to submit a pardon petition, which he did not wish to do; the sources confirmed that Mr. Al-Homsi had indeed refused to lodge such a petition, as the Syrian authorities required from him a statement declaring that he had committed an offence, had violated the law and recognized that the judgement handed down on him was fair; the sources stated further that no petition was required and that pardons were given on the sole initiative of the President or issued through the People's Council; moreover, the People's Council was empowered to adopt an amnesty law and to oblige the President to promulgate it,
Considering that throughout Mr. Al-Homsi's imprisonment several requests for his release have reportedly been submitted to the courts, all of which were rejected; and noting in this respect the following: on 26 July 2005, the Cassation Court dismissed Mr. Al-Homsi's application for early release provided for under Article 172 of the Criminal Code on the grounds that it had not been proven that Mr. Al Homsi had "corrected" himself in prison, as required under that Article. The Court based its ruling on two letters from the prison director stating that Mr. Al-Homsi had behaved well but that they did not know "whether he had corrected himself". The President of the Cassation Court delivered a dissenting opinion holding that Mr. Al Homsi was entitled to release since he had already served three-quarters of his sentence, had behaved well and had not been the subject of disciplinary sanctions. According to the source, it is the general practice of Syrian courts to release prisoners automatically once they have served three-quarters of their sentence.

Considering that, according to the sources, Mr. Al-Homsi's state of health has considerably worsened owing to the authorities' failure to provide him with the medicaments and treatment he requires as a diabetic and that in July 2005 he went for some time on a hunger strike; that, moreover, he is reportedly deprived of family visits and held together with common criminals, which is said to be in contravention of Syrian law, and that the Committee raised these concerns with the Syrian authorities,

Recalling the inconsistencies in the information provided by the Syrian parliamentary authorities over the years in this case, as detailed in the resolution it adopted at its 176th session in April 2005,

  1. Deeply regrets that the authorities have not seen fit to respond to the Committee's concerns regarding Mr. Al-Homsi's worsening state of health and provided information on his conditions of detention;

  2. Wishes urgently to ascertain Mr. Al-Homsi's state of health and the medical treatment he is receiving; recalls that the authorities have the duty to look after the medical needs of the persons in their custody and, if they fail to do so, are responsible for any resulting harm to the persons concerned and their families;

  3. Deplores the fact that Mr. Al-Homsi is still in detention owing to a decision which even the President of the Cassation Court considered to be unfounded in law;

  4. Is led to consider, in view of the information on file, that Mr. Al-Homsi is specifically targeted and denied legal benefits routinely provided to other prisoners; deplores this all the more given its consistent appeals in favour of a pardon and early release for Mr. Al-Homsi;

  5. Urges the Parliament to take action at least to ensure that Mr. Al-Homsi receives the same treatment as other prisoners, and is granted an early release without further delay;

  6. Deeply regrets that the parliamentary authorities have offered no explanation of the inconsistencies pointed out in its resolution referred to above and have not clarified these matters of serious concern;

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

  8. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 114th IPU Assembly (May 2006).

* The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic took the floor to state that Mr. Al-Homsi was in good health, and that it was within the power of the courts to grant him early release, but that the courts had thus far refused to do so.


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