Another Violation of Freedom of Speech in Syria: Travel Bans

The Passport and Immigration Office in Damascus has withdrawn Syrian lawyer Faeq Huwaija’s passport at the Syrian-Jordanian borders on Thursday 20/12/2011 while he was trying to leave to Jordan to attend a workshop entitled “Syria in a changeable region” along with a group of researchers.

Mr. Huwaija was accompanied by Mr. Hussein Odat, Mr. Habib Issa and journalist Thabet Salem.

The Syrian authorities has prevented Mr. Huwaija from traveling and withdrew his passport based on circular No. 604 issued on 4/5/1983 of the travel ban notice no. 56877 issued on 9/11/2001 by Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID), division 320, document G4522 which is dated on 15/10/2000 (see image on the right [AR]).

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression strongly condemns such oppressive and unconstitutional policies that violates human’s basic rights, and calls on the Syrian authorities to implement immediately the resolution of abolishing all travel bans against its citizens according to what Vice President Farouq Al-Share’ said at the consultative meeting on 10/7/2011 where he states that the Syrian leadership decided to abolish all travel bans implemented by security services against several Syrian opposition figures who hold different political opinions and visions, and who are constantly harassed by authorities and prevent them to even return home anytime they want. Mr. Share’ had clearly stated at the time that the minister of interior affairs was informed of this resolution and was instructed to be implement it immediately.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression confirms that this resolution has not been implemented until now despite the end of state of emergency law, for there are several Syrian citizens, journalists, intellectuals, lawyers and human rights advocates, who are banned from leaving the country due to security services’ notices that are absolutely illegal, and are totally based on security services orders, violating hence, the constitutional rights of every Syrian citizen.

The center reminds its readers of a special report it issued on the policy of travel ban in Syria entitled: “The Problem of Travel Ban in Syria.”

Again, and despite the resolution to end travel bans in Syria, below is a list of some Syrian activists and political activists who are still prevented from leaving the country:

Aslan Abdelkareem, writer and a former political prisoner

Akram Bunni, writer and a former political prisoner

Anwar Bunni, lawyer and human rights activist

Juan Ayo, human rights activist

Hassan Saleh, deputy secretary of the Kurdish party, Yekiti

Ali Al-Abdalla, journalist and a former political prisoner

Ali Al-Wared, journalist and a former political prisoner

Kamal Sheikho, journalist and a human rights activist

Mazen Darwish, journalist and the director of Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression

Mohidden Sheikh Ali, Secretary of the Kurdish Democratic Unity Party in Syria

Mohiddeen Isso, journalist and a human rights activist.