Arab Women Media Watch in UK is concerned about the fate of a Syrian woman activist who might face the death penalty

Syrian human rights activist, Yara Michael Shammas

Arab Women Media Watch in UK is concerned about the fate of 21
years old Syrian human rights activist, Yara Michael Shammas, who faces charges
that might lead to death penalty.

Shammas was arrested by the
Syrian security forces and accused of nine charges; one of which might lead
to the death penalty. This claimed charge is ‘provoking a civil war or
sectarian fighting by arming Syrians or encouraging them to become armed
against each other’s.’

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The Syrian security forces
arrested Yara Shammas, the daughter of lawyer and human rights activist Michel Shammas,
along with 12 other young men and women, while they were setting at Niniar café,
in Bab al-Sharqi neighbourhood in Damascus, on the evening of the seventh of
March 2012.

Iqbal Tamimi, Director of Arab
Women Media Watch in UK, expressed her concerns over the fate of  Shammas and other journalists and bloggers
detained by the Syrian authorities,  such
as Syrian journalist Ali Mahmoud Othman, from Homs, who was arrested on 28
March last and suffers torture by the intelligence authorities; Syrian activist
Nora Algizawa; Turkish journalists Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun; members of the
Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression who were arrested along with
the Director of the centre, Dr. Mazen Darwish, on the sixteenth of February; journalist
Mary Issa Iskandar and her husband, doctor Joseph Nakhleh, and a large number
of other journalists, bloggers and activists who were arrested mainly during
the protests.Turkish journalist Adem Özköse (L) and Hamit Coşkun are missing in Syria. AA photos

Tamimi said ‘ AWMW members in UK
and other UK Journalists hope to draw attention to several violations against
journalists and bloggers who are tortured and detained in Syria by Bashar
al-Assad regime for doing their jobs or practicing their rights of freedom of
expression , and those who have the courage to share the real news with the
rest of the world. We call for the immediate release of all journalists, media
professionals, bloggers and citizens journalists who are detained by the Syrian
authorities. The Syrian authorities committed itself to implement the Kofi  Annan’s plan, which includes releasing all
prisoners of conscience. It is time to fulfil those obligations.’ She added.

Paul Breeden, Chair of Bristol NUJ
said “Governments have no place in restraining freedom of expression and
still less in torturing and attacking their own people. Sadly this is exactly
what is happening in Syria right now, and journalists, bloggers and human
rights activists are among the victims”.

“I am very pleased that Iqbal
Tamimi and the Arab Women Media Watch are drawing attention to these abuses. I
support her call for the immediate release of all those detained for political
reasons and particularly Yara Michel Shammas, who was arrested in Damascus on
March 7 and may face the death penalty.” He added.

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