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The Committee on Human Rights serves as the Secretariat for the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (H.R. Network).

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Case Information: Haytham Al-Maleh
Haytham al-Maleh
DATE OF BIRTH:August 15, 1930
DATE OF ARREST:October 14, 2009
This is an HR Network case only.

On March 8, 2011, veteran Syrian human rights lawyer Haytham al-Maleh was released from ’Adra Prison after he was granted a presidential pardon because of his advanced age and serious ill-health. Mr. al-Maleh, who is 80 years old and suffers from diabetes and an overactive thyroid gland, had served more than one year and four months of a three-year prison term for “weakening national sentiment” and “broadcasting false or exaggerated news which would affect the morale of the country.” Mr. al-Maleh was arrested on October 14, 2009, after he came out of retirement to defend two human rights lawyers who had been arrested for providing legal counsel to political detainees, including four medical doctors, an engineer, and a dentist whose cases had been undertaken by the CHR and the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (H.R. Network).

In its role as Secretariat of the H.R. Network, the CHR documented Mr. al-Maleh’s case and shared the information with affiliated national academies that include lawyers in their membership. During Mr. al-Maleh’s imprisonment, these academies sent more than 20 letters of appeal to Syrian authorities in his behalf.

Immediately upon his release from prison, Mr. al-Maleh gave several interviews to media outlets and reportedly told Amnesty International: I hope to keep to my promise I made to those who have supported me, by continuing my work. I call on the government to release all the prisoners of conscience in ’Adra Prison and the thousands of others like them detained in security facilities.


Related Links

Syria: The Trial of Human Rights Lawyer Haytham al-Maleh before the Second Military Court of Damascus: February – July 2010 (February 2011)

H.R. Network Only—Two Syrian Human Rights Lawyers Sentenced to Three Years in Prison (11/15/10)

H.R. Network Only—Action Alert: Two Syrian Lawyers Awaiting Trial for Human Rights Work (2/4/10; updated 3/8/10)