On Monday, 11 May 2009 the Damascus Criminal Court found Mesh’al al-Tammo guilty of several charges and sentenced him to 3½ years in prison for his political activities.
Al-Tammo was abducted by Syrian authorities on 15 August 2008 after leaving the town of Ein al-‘Arab (Kobanî). He was held incommunicado for 11 days, during which time he was moved to Damascus. On 26 August 2008 he was transferred to ‘Adra Prison in Damascus. The next day he was brought before an investigating judge and charged with numerous offences including joining an international organisation without government permission and inciting sectarian strife.
On Monday, the 51-year-old political activist and spokesperson of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria (an unauthorised political party) was found guilty of ‘weakening national sentiments’ (Article 285 of the Penal Code) and ‘broadcasting false or exaggerated news which could affect the morale of the country’ (Article 286). The charges related to party documents that were found in his car when he was arrested last August. Al-Tammo is also a member of the Committee for the Revival of Civil Society, an unauthorised pro-reform network of Syrians who meet to discuss human rights and political matters.
Mesh’al al-Tammo’s lawyers had asked to call a total of seven defence witnesses to give evidence at the trial, but last month the court rejected this request and no witnesses were permitted in al-Tammo’s defence.
Immediately after the verdict was read aloud, Mr al-Tammo shouted across the courtroom: ‘Freedom for the Syrian people! Freedom for the Kurds in Syria!’
Syria: Jailed Kurdish activist is prisoner of conscience, Amnesty International, 12 May 2009
محكمة الجنايات تحكم على معارض سوري بالسجن ثلاث سنوات ونصف, NOW Lebanon, 11 May 2009