The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued a following statement today:

“The High Representative Catherine Ashton is deeply concerned by the conviction of Kyrgyz human rights defender Azimjan Askarov to a life sentence and confiscation of his property, in the light of the manifest violations of his right to a fair trial. This ruling sends a negative signal with regards to the situation of human rights defenders in the country and runs counter to ongoing efforts towards inter-ethnic reconciliation.

High Representative remains seriously concerned by reports that Mr Askarov was ill-treated while in police custody and that his lawyer and relatives were harassed. She wishes to remind the Kyrgyz authorities of their obligations to investigate allegations of torture in an impartial and prompt manner and to protect human rights defenders in light of the commitments freely undertaken by Kyrgyzstan under international and domestic law.

Should Mr Askarov decide to appeal, HR urges the authorities to do everything in their power to ensure that his right to a fair trial is respected, and that the safety of the defendants, their relatives and their lawyers and the impartiality of the proceedings is ensured.

Mr Askarov and his non-governmental organisation « Air », have carried out important work in documenting prison conditions and the treatment of detainees by police in the Jalal-Abad province, and recently recorded the violent incidents that took place in the region during the June events.

The EU attended the full proceedings of the trial, and has regularly raised the case of Mr Askarov with the authorities. The EU will continue to monitor the overall situation of human rights defenders in Kyrgyzstan.”

Le Parlement européen,

– vu ses précédentes résolutions sur la Syrie, et notamment celles du 8 septembre 2005 sur les prisonniers politiques en Syrie(1) , du 15 juin 2006 sur les droits de l’homme en Syrie(2) , du 24 mai 2007 sur les droits de l’homme en Syrie(3) et du 17 septembre 2009 sur la Syrie: le cas de Muhannad Al-Hassani(4) ,

– vu son rapport, adopté le 10 octobre 2006, contenant la recommandation du Parlement européen au Conseil relative à la conclusion d’un accord euro-méditerranéen d’association entre la Communauté européenne et ses États membres, d’une part, et la République arabe syrienne, d’autre part,

– vu son rapport, adopté le 17 juin 2010, sur la politique de l’UE en faveur des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, (suite…)

Brussels, 24 August 2010 A 167/10 – The spokesperson of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued the following statement today :

« The High Representative is concerned by the conviction of 39-year-old Abdallah Abu Rahma in an Israeli military court on charges of incitement and organising and attending demonstrations. He is due to be sentenced shortly. The EU considers Abdallah Abu Rahma to be a Human Rights Defender committed to non violent protest against the route of the Israeli separation barrier through his West Bank village of Bil’in.

The EU considers the route of the barrier where it is built on Palestinian land to be illegal. The High Representative is deeply concerned that the possible imprisonment of Mr Abu Rahma is intended to prevent him and other Palestinians from exercising their legitimate right to protest against the existence of the separation barriers in a non violent manner. « 

Note to Editors: The EU attended all court hearings in the case of Abdallah Abu Rahma, who has been in detention since 10 December 2009. »

Brussels, 26 July 2010, 12617/10, PRESSE 221 – The EU strongly condemns the sentencing of Mr. Haitham Al Maleh and Mr. Muhannad Al Hassani, two Syrian lawyers, to three years in prison respectively, on charges that appear to be in breach of their fundamental rights and freedoms.

The EU also deeply deplores the renewed arrest on 17 June of Mr. Ali Al-Abdullah, a Syrian writer, a day after his release from prison having completed his previous sentence.

The EU is in particular gravely concerned by the situation of Mr. Al Maleh, due to his fragile health and advanced age.

The EU calls for the immediate release of MM. Al Maleh, Al Hassani and Al-Abudullah.

The EU calls on the Syrian Government to reconsider all cases of prisoners of conscience in accordance with its national Constitution and its international commitments and to immediately release all such prisoners. (suite…)

Brussels, 16 July 2010 – The European Union expresses its preoccupation at the continuing human rights violations in the North Caucasus and the worsening of the situation of human rights defenders in the region, as also noted in Dick Marty´s (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) report on the human rights violations in the North Caucasus, one year after the assassination of Mrs Natalia Estemirova of the Non-Governmental Organisation Memorial.

The European Union is concerned at the recent threats received by the NGO Memorial and the charges brought forward against its Director, Mr Oleg Orlov.

The European Union recalls the importance of protecting human rights defenders in Russia and worldwide, and allowing them to freely exercise their activities in accordance with the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly on Human Rights Defenders, adopted in 1998. (suite…)