Yesterday evening Riad Seif, the Syrian human rights activist and dissident, was arrested in his apartment in Damascus. Today (29 January), in Berlin, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement calling for his immediate release:
"The arrest of Riad Seif is unacceptable, and I urge the Syrian authorities to release him forthwith. Mr Seif has for many years now been a courageous advocate of greater democracy in his country. The German Government has several times intervened on his behalf vis-á-vis the Syrian government. The imprisonment of persons who, by peaceful means, are fighting for political reforms, the rule of law and human rights in Syria is intolerable!
The court case opened yesterday in Damascus against ten members of the National Council of the Damascus Declaration also gives me great cause for concern. In this regard I would like to expressly remind the Syrian authorities and justice organs of the obligations entered into by Syria arising from the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and from the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
Bilateral relations between Germany and Syria