Syria welcomes the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council's adoption of the Fact-Finding Mission's report on the war on Gaza, a Syrian Foreign Ministry official source said Sunday.Meanwhile, Syria imprisoned a blogger for his views:
"Hailing the stances of the countries which voted in favor of the resolution, Syria expresses regret over stances of some countries which voted against it and the abstention of other countries which have long claimed that they respect and care for human rights," the source added.
The source said that the double standards of these countries regarding several issues, on top of them the human rights, denies them credibility and objectivity, which should exist when dealing with what they raise regarding the human rights issues.
Consider the case of Kareem Arabji, a 31 year old business consultant who helps manage the online youth forum www.akhawia.net. Kareem supervised Al Mabar Al Hur, a section within akhawia.net dedicated to free ideas, and wrote numerous articles under a pseudonym criticizing corruption and dictatorship in Syria. On June 7, 2007 Arabji was arrested by Syrian security forces and held incommunicado at the Palestine Branch of Military Intelligence in Damascus. He was charged with, "broadcasting false or exaggerated news which would affect the morale of the country.”
Just what outrageous, unforgivable words did Kareem utter that so threatened the Syrian nation? "The press is a very important mechanism to struggle against the corruption, there should not be any restrictions or obstacles to it," he wrote in Akhawia. Or perhaps it was his skepticism of the Syria-Hamas alliance: "Since I was a kid in school we were always taught that the Muslim Brotherhood is a criminal gang, and I agree. And now we proudly consider Hamas, which is a Muslim Brotherhood proxy, as an ally!!!?"
On September 13, 2009, Arabji was sentenced by a Syrian court to three years in prison.
Despite a sustained public relations campaign in the West, Syria remains one of the most repressive regimes in the Middle East. Those who voice dissent are regularly intimidated, arrested, tortured and imprisoned. In September 2009 the Jordanian Business Magazine reported that Syria blocks at least "160 web sites, including Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, and the popular online-telephone service, Skype." Cyberdissidents such as Arabji face regular harassment from security forces. Ironically, article 38 of the Syrian constitution allows "the right to freely express one's opinions by spoken word, in writing or in any other medium." But this is little more than hollow rhetoric. The same article also states that expression must be in a "manner that safeguards the soundness of the domestic and nationalist structure and strengthens the socialist system." This clause effectively guts any true form of freedom of expression in Syria.