Syrian Journalist Amer Matar Stands Before The Fourth Magistrate Judge
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression has learned that the Syrian journalist Amer Othman Matar has stood in court today 8/12/2011 before the fourth magistrate judge in Damascus after the fifth military judge abandoned his case to the magistrate court.
The Public Prosecution Office in Damascus filed against Matar charges of “spreading false news that weaken the morale of the nation.” Matar was questioned by the judge at the presence of his lawyer, Khalil Maatou’. The Syrian journalist denied all charges filed against him and said the he was forced to make the statements written in his file and assures that judge that none of the statements were true.
Matar’s lawyer, Khalil Matou’, said to SCM that “the arrest of journalist Amer Matar is illegal and unconstitutional, and that nothing that Matar did or said is considered a crime according the Syrian law and constitution.”
The judge decided to arrest Matar and hence was taken back to Adra prison.
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression expresses its deep concern towards the increased violations committed against journalists, bloggers and media workers in Syria. The Center reminds its readers that more than 120 cases of violations against media workers have been documented since the beginning of 2011 year.
Such policies of abuse against journalists is a clear violation of the Security Council resolution 1738 of 2006 that assures the need to treat journalists as civilians who must be respected and protected at times of armed conflict. The resolution referred to the Geneva Conventions 12, August, 1949, on the treatment of prisoners of war, along with the two Additional Protocols of June 8, 1977, in particular Article 79 of Additional Protocol that relates to the protection of journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions at times of armed conflict.