Rights activist: Syrian authorities detain dozens (Forbes)


By BASSEM MROUE , 04.24.11, 10:21 AM EDT 

BEIRUT — Syrian security forces detained dozens of opposition activists and others in raids Sunday launched less than a week after President Bashar Assad‘s regime abolished emergency laws used for decades to crush dissent, a human rights activistsaid.The police sweeps, which began late Saturday, reinforce opposition claims that the repeal of the nearly 50-year-old state of emergency codes offers no protection against blitz-style detentions by Assad’s forces.

Also Sunday, the watchdog group Human Rights Watch called for a U.N. inquiry into Syria’s widening crackdown on opposition protesters that has left more than 120 dead people in recent days and brought some resignations in protest from Assad’s regime.

“I pay my respect to the martyrs,” said Bashir Mohammed al-Zoebi, one of two provincial council members who left their posts Sunday in the southern region Daraa, which has the highest death toll in the country.

Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said the arrests concentrated on the capital Damascus and suburbs as well as the central city of Homs, which has been a hotbed of demonstrations against Assad’s authoritarian rule.

“These people are not being arrested in a legal way. They are being kidnapped,” Qurabi said, claiming the plainclothes security agents did not have formal arrest warrants.

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