In reaction to the release of Haitham Al-Maleh, the 80-year-old Syrian human rights activist and lawyer, Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (8 March 2011):
“I am glad to see that Haitham al-Maleh is free again. This is a small step in the right direction.
The call for freedom in the region has not left Syria untouched. I call upon the Government of Syria to release all political prisoners and to respect the right of every Syrian to freedom of opinion.”
In 2001 Haitham Al-Maleh co-founded the first Syrian human rights organization (Human Rights Association in Syria) and, in his capacity as a lawyer, has represented many Syrian human rights activists in court. Haitham Al-Maleh was arrested on 14 October 2009 and was given a three-year sentence by a military court in Damascus on 4 July 2010. He was released today.