Document - UA 104/93 - Syria: Death Penalty: Proposed expansion of the scope of the death penalty

EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: MDE 24/02/93

Distr: UA/SC

UA 104/93Death Penalty 7 April 1993

SYRIA:Proposed expansion of scope of the death penalty

Amnesty International is concerned that at the beginning of April 1993, the Syrian National Assembly (Parliament) approved a new legal bill dealing with drug offences which included the death penalty for farmers, dealers and manufacturers of drugs. The bill will come into force as soon as it is signed by President Hafez al-Assad. Syria's current law dealing with drugs, Law 182 of 1960, does not include the death penalty.

Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, is concerned that the new legislation will lead to more loss of life. In addition, the organization believes that the inclusion of the death penalty in this new law is contrary to international standards which are developing progressively towards the abolition of such cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

The United Nations Resolution No. 32/61 of December 8, l977 has firmly committed the international community to work towards the abolition of the death penalty by stating:

"...the main objective to be pursued in the field of capital

punishment is that of progressively restricting the number of

offences for which the death penalty may be imposed with a view

to the desirability of abolishing this punishment..."

Despite extensive research, the death penalty has never been shown to deter crime more effectively than other punishments. Moreover the use of the death penalty is irreversible and can result in the execution of innocent prisoners.

Amnesty International is calling on President Hafez al-Assad not to sign the death penalty clause included in the new legal bill.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes and airmail letters either in English or in your own language:

- expressing concern at the proposed expansion of the death penalty to drug offences and urging President Hafez al-Assad not to sign the clause containing this punishment;

- stating that Amnesty International opposes the death penalty, considering it to be a violation of the right to life and the most serious example of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment by the State;

- stating that the death penalty brutalises all who are involved in the process.


1) His Excellency Salutation: Your Excellency

President Hafez al-Assad

Presidential Palace

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

Telegrams: President al-Assad, Damascus, Syria

Telexes: 419160 munjed sy

Page 2 of UA 104/93

2) His Excellency Salutation: Your Excellency

Muhammad Harba

Minister of the Interior

Ministry of the Interior

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

Telegrams: Interior Minister, Damascus, Syria


His Excellency `Abdallah Tulba

Minister of Justice

Ministry of Justice

Nasr Street

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

and to Syrian diplomatic representatives accredited to your. country

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 19 May 1993.

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