Imprisoned syrian Human Rights defender honored in ceremony on internet

October 14, 2010

On Friday 15 October 2010, at 18h00 GMT, a one-hour ceremony for the Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders (MEA) will be streamed, in both English and Arabic, on the website of the MEA: http:/ and a number of other sites.

Muhannad Al-Hassani,  the Laureate of this year’s  MEA, lingers in jail in Syria. He is a lawyer who has bravely defended human rights and challenged the oppressive Syrian government. His human rights work brought him into trouble, such as creating a local human rights organization and reporting on the proceedings of the State Security Court. A three-year prison term prevents him from being able to attend the award ceremony in person. In addition, in an appalling demonstration of servility to the Government, the Syrian Bar Association prohibits Mr. Al-Hassani from practicing law for the rest of his life.

The Martin Ennals Award is granted each year to a person who has demonstrated an exceptional record of combating human rights violations by courageous and innovative means. “Mr. Al-Hassani is a man of exceptional courage, who has been arbitrarily detained for defending the rule of law and the freedom of association,” says Hans Thoolen, Chair of the Jury of the MEA.

The MEA is the result of a unique collaboration of ten of the world’s leading human rights NGOs, including the International Service for Human Rights. The other organisations are: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation of Human Rights, World Organization Against Torture, Front Line, International Commission of Jurists, Human Rights First, Diakonie Germany and HURIDOCS. These organisations form the Jury for the awards.

It is hoped that awarding the Martin Ennals Award and broadcasting the ceremony on the internet will increase the visibility of Mr. Al-Hassani’s situation and his valuable work. He has suffered enough