The Syrian regime persists in ignoring democratic values: The unknown fate of the Prisoners of Conscience (PoCs) – Position Paper

In International Advocacy Program by

Syria has witnessed political arrests in different periods of its modern post-independence history. However, this phenomenon did not assume the form of a systematic approach until the beginning of the 1980s, when, for the first time, thousands of Syrians from different movements and affiliations were arrested. The situation remained unchanged for a decade as all forms of independent societal actions were suppressed. This stage laid the foundation for the following one, which was marked by: the introduction of martial laws, enforced shortly after the announcement of the State of Emergency in 1963 and which are still currently in effect; the consolidation of the single-party policy set forth by article 8 of the 1973 Constitution; and the expropriation of the public sphere in all its dimensions. All these matters have inevitably led to the continuation of arbitrary arrests up to now, with a relative difference in terms of arrest conditions and the people targeted by such measures. While the arrests in the old era targeted the cadres of political parties effectively active during that period, the main victims, since 2001, have been intellectuals and independent activists that naturally represented the core of this emerging action.

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