I am asking your assistance to secure the release of Ms. Tal al-Mallouhi, a nineteen year old high school senior, who was put in jail by the Syrian government. Ms. Tal al-Mallouhi’s “crime” was expressing her opinion on a blog. She has been held incommunicado since December 27, 2009. Bowing to pressure from human rights activists, the Syrian government is trying to hide its crime by submitting Ms. al-Mallouhi to a kangaroo exceptional court for trumped up charges; they have accused Ms al-Mallouhi with spying for the United States
Although Syria has signed the international declaration of human rights, the Syrian regime continues to violate the basic human rights of the Syrian citizens and in many cases other nation’s citizens. The Syrian government illegally jails, tortures, and restricts the travel rights of its citizens for expressing their free opinions.
In addition to Ms. al-Mallouhi, the Syrian regime is illegally incarcerating the world’s oldest prisoner of conscience – My father, Mr. Haitham Maleh, a seventy-nine year old attorney and a human rights defender. Mr. Maleh has been detained by the Syrian regime since October 14, 2009 after he criticized the Syrian government human rights violations during a televised interview.
Incarceration of innocent persons is rampant in Syria, along with other human right abuses. The Syrian people are deprived of basic rights we take for granted here in the United States. They are prohibited from public assembly. They lack access to press and free and fair elections.
Sadly, human rights conditions have deteriorated significantly after the international community opened a dialogue with the Syrian regime. Because of immediate economic and political calculations, our government, and the rest of the free world, continues to turn a blind eye to human rights violations by the so called “friendly governments”, this is unethical, inhumane, and will harm us and the rest of the world.
The lack of basic human rights and democratic reforms in Syria, and the rest of the Middle East, fosters extremism, which can lead to terrorism. But in a free body politic, persons are reticent to resort to violence before dialogue.
Fortunately, we have the power to reverse disturbing trends. From growing up in Syria, I know that just like the American people, the Syrian people love freedom, they do not resent the Unites States, but they are disappointed by our government’s foreign policies in the Middle East and the perceived support of despot regimes in their region. Unwavering support of democracy and human rights in Syria is the way to win the hearts and minds of the Syrians, and the rest of the Middle East. The Syrian people feel helpless in front of the Syrian regime. The United States can champion human rights in Syria, and throughout the Middle East, by pressuring the Syrian government to release Ms. al-Mallouhi and all prisoners of conscience.
Palm Harbor , FL