Syrian political activist arrested

Syrian political activist and writer Louay Hussein was arrested by immigration officials on the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian border on 12 November. He faces charges of “weakening national sentiment” and “weakening the morale of the nation”. He is currently being held at ‘Adra prison.

Louay Hussein

Louay Hussein, head of Building the Syrian State, a pro-democracy political movement, and an outspoken opposition writer, was travelling to Lebanon on 12 November 2014 from where he planned to travel to Spain to see his family. He was arrested by Syrian immigration officials on the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian border and was immediately transferred to the Justice Palace in Damascus, the capital. A local contact told Amnesty International that on 13 November Louay Hussein appeared before the investigative judge who ordered his transfer to ‘Adra prison where he awaits trial.

According to the local contact, the investigative judge accused Louay Hussein of violating a travel ban issued on 7 July 2014 by the Ministry of Justice on the basis of an article he published on 24 June of the same year, in which he claimed that “the Syrian state is falling apart and collapsing”. The investigative judge has also accused him of “weakening national sentiment” and “weakening the morale of the nation”, charges that are commonly brought against peaceful political activists and human rights right defenders.

According to his wife, Louay Hussein had not been notified that a travel ban had been imposed on him in July. She said that he had travelled in and out of Syria on several occasions since July without any problem.

Louay Hussein was previously detained for five days on 22 March 2011 for publishing an online petition in solidarity with protestors in Dera’a and calling for the Syrian people’s right to peacefully express their opinions. He was also sentenced to seven years in prison in 1984 as a result for his involvement with the Communist Labour Party.

Source: Amnesty International