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Monday, May 15, 2006 

Michel Kilo arrested

Syrian activist Michel Kilo (left) has been arrested just days after he wrote a endorsed a petition calling for Syria to improve its relations with Lebanon, according to the Syrian Organization for Human Rights.

His daughter says he was summoned by the security services, and he still hasn't returned.

He has long supported Bashar's reform process, and called for it to move on quickly. And he has criticised Syria's involvement in Lebanon. He is a writer for anti-Syrian paper An-Nahar, which was run by Jubran Tueni who was killed in a car bomb in Beirut in December.

The Syrian Organisation for Human Rights, and its head Ammar Qurabi, have been one of the most balanced voices in Syria. They have called for reform and criticised the government - Ammar has been arrested for that - and they have also found the time to praise the government, and criticise pressure from the US, the UN and Lebanon.

The arrest of MR Kilo is either a stupid mistake as it will direct the attention to his ideas and to the fact that not all the oppposition are from the MB or it is a smart move to elevate his statue in the opposition so he can have influance to decrease the radicalism of the opposition .

Ahwazi: Syria's Deportation Scandal
Syria is undermining the Geneva Refugee Convention and the work of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees by detaining and deporting Ahwazi Arab asylum seekers and refugees to Iran, the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) has told officials at the Syrian embassy today.

The deportation of Saeed Saki (pictured), a 40-year-old Ahwazi asylum seeker resident in Damascus, to Iran is not only a breach of his human rights but will almost certainly lead to his death at the hands of the Iranian regime, which is seeking to silence opposition. The arrests and deportation come in the context of growing government aggression against Ahwazi Arabs in Iran's Khuzestan province, which has witnessed growing anti-government unrest.

Seven other Ahwazis have been arrested and detained by the Syrian authorities, including Dutch national, Faleh Abdullah al Mansouri (60), who leads the Ahwaz Liberation Organisation (ALO)

BAFS has called on the Syrian government to stop deportations and release the men if there are no criminal charges against them. It has reminded the government of its duties and obligations to refugees under international law.

BAFS spokesman Nasser Bani Assad said: "We believe that Mr Saki's life is in danger as a direct result of the Syrian government's actions. Damascus has a large Ahwazi Arab community, including many refugees and opposition groups, that has never posed a challenge to the Syrian government. Indeed, it was not long ago that Syria professed sympathy for the persecuted Ahwazi Arabs of Iran.

"By arresting and detaining Ahwazi refugees, who have abided by Syrian law and have sought sanctuary in Damascus, the Syrian government is participating in the oppression and persecution of Arabs. We do not believe that the Syrian people support these deportations. We think Syria's actions, particularly the deportation of Mr Saki, could further alienate the government both in the Arab world and in the wider international community.

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