Death Penalty Database

Syria

Information current as of: April 6, 2011

General

Official Country Name

Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). [1]

Geographical Region

Asia (Western Asia). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]
(in the case of ordinary persons). [5]

Shooting. [6]
(for military personnel). [7]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Syria, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm, Feb. 17, 2010.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[4] Penal Code of Syria, art. 43, No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated in French, private translation, 1979 edition. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[5] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 27, para. 91, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[7] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 27, para. 91, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic. [1]

Population

21,000,000. (2009 est.). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

Although there are individuals on death row in Syria, we could not ascertain their current number. [3] In 2005, the Syrian authorities declared that as of 2004, 12,000 people were detained in Syria, 5,000 of them had been put to trial and sentenced and “several” of them were death-sentenced prisoners. [4] At least 8 more death sentences than executions were issued from 2007-2009 [2007 (at least 10, with 7 executions), [5] 2008 (at least 7, with 1 execution) [6] and 2009 (at least 7, with 8 executions). [7] According to the U.S. Department of State, death sentences pronounced by the Supreme State Security Court in 2009 were all commuted to 12 to 15 years imprisonment. [8] In 2010 Amnesty reported seven more executions than death sentences. [9] But because we do not know the number of death-sentenced prisoners before this period and might lack other information, we cannot confirm the true number of individuals under sentence of death in Syria.

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on August 15, 2017)

0. [10]

Due to the civil strife in Syria, we have very little information about executions in the country.

Executions in 2016

0. [11]

Due to the civil strife in Syria, we have very little information about executions in the country.

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [12] Due to the civil strife in Syria, we have very little information about executions in the country.

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

At least 7. Due to the civil strife in Syria, we have very little information about executions in the country. According to a report by UN Human Rights, at least 7 were executed by armed opposition groups in the first week of January. [13] We have not found any information on what, if any, judicial proceedings led to these convictions and executions. Amnesty International does not record any judicial executions for Syria in 2014. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

1 execution per 3,000,000 persons

Executions in 2013

2. [15]

Due to the civil strife in Syria, we have very little information about executions in the country. The reported 2 executions were carried out by Syrian rebels for treason. [16] We have not found any information on what, if any, judicial proceedings led to these convictions and executions.

Per capita execution rate in 2013

1 execution per 10,500,000 persons.

Executions in 2012

We found media reports confirming 1 execution. [17]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

1 execution per 21,000,000 persons.

Executions in 2011

Because of ongoing anti-government violence, Amnesty was unable to confirm the number of executions which were carried out in Syria, noting only that at least 1 execution had occurred. The actual number of executions is likely to be much higher. [18]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

1 execution per 21,000,000 persons.

Executions in 2010

At least 17. [19]

Executions in 2009

At least 8. [20]

Executions in 2008

At least 1. [21]

Executions in 2007

At least 7. [22]

Year of Last Known Execution

2014. [23]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Syria, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm, Feb. 17, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Syria, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm, Feb. 17, 2010.
[3] Mark Warren, The Death Penalty Worldwide: Estimated Death Row Populations, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/global.htm, Aug. 6, 2010.
[4] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examen Des Rapports Soumis Par Les États Parties Conformément À L’Article 40 Du Pacte Et De La Situation Dans Des Pays (suite), p. 7, para. 25, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SR.2291, Jul. 26, 2005.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 7, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 15, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[10] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[11] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[12] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[13] UN Human Rights, Syria: soaring number of executions in violation of international law, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14173&LangID=E, Jan. 16, 2014.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Executions and Death Sentences in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[15] Zaman Alwasl, Shariah Authority: death penalty for man and woman over charges of treason in Homs, http://zamanalwsl.net/en/readNews.php?id=1573, Sep. 16, 2013.
[16] Zaman Alwasl, Shariah Authority: death penalty for man and woman over charges of treason in Homs, http://zamanalwsl.net/en/readNews.php?id=1573, Sep. 16, 2013.
[17] Albawaba News, Syria: senior army defector executed, http://www.albawaba.com/news/syria-senior-army-defector-executed-62-die-clashes-410823, Jan. 30, 2012.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[23] UN Human Rights, Syria: soaring number of executions in violation of international law, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14173&LangID=E, Jan. 16, 2014.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Premeditated murder, [1] murder to further a felony, [2] murder of one’s ascendants or descendants [3] and murder of a State employee charged with the implementation of the Narcotic Drugs Law during the performance of his function [4] are punishable by death.

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Arson resulting in death [5] and gang-robbery resulting in death [6] are punishable by death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Terrorist acts [7] and the financing of terrorism [8] are punishable by death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Terrorist acts [9] and the financing of terrorism [10] are punishable by death.

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death. [11]

Drug Possession. [12]

Treason.
Several treasonous acts are punishable by death. [13] Treason in Syria encompasses a broad category of crimes that include actions such as political dissidence. [14]

Espionage.
Espionage by military personnel is punishable by death. [15]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Desertion, [16] insubordination, rebellion [17] and other military offenses [18] are punishable by death.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
- Subjecting a person to torture or barbaric treatmentduring the commission of gang-robbery is punishable by death. [19]
- Attempting a death-eligible crime is punishable by death (but the sentence can be commuted to forced labor for life). [20]
- Repeat Offender: being convicted for the second time for a felony punishable by forced labor for life, is punishable by death. [21]
- Belonging to the Moslem Brethren Group (Muslim Brotherhood Organization) is punishable by death. [22]
- Falsification of material evidence resulting in a third party being convicted for a drug offense and sentenced to death, is punishable by death. [23]

Comments.
By September 2010, we could not be able to locate an updated version of the Penal Code. We have worked with a 1979 edition, about 100 articles of which are missing.

Under the 1979 penal code, death sentences are commuted to life imprisonment if the offender was convicted of a political offense. [24]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. Although only in a limited number of circumstances. Article 243 of the penal code permits courts to commute death sentences to forced labor if they find mitigating circumstances. [25] However, under Article 39 of the Narcotics Drugs Law of 1993, courts are sometimes prohibited from considering mitigating circumstances if recidivism or other specified factors are found. [26]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Drug trafficking aggravated by recidivism, status as a state employee, use of a minor, and other specified factors carries the mandatory death penalty. [27]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
- Membership in the Moslem Brethern Group (Muslim Brotherhood). [28]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Aggravated Murder. [29]
Two men were hanged for murder and armed robbery on September 3, 2008.

Comments.
As of September 2010, we could not ascertain for which crimes individuals have been executed since January 2008. The only report we could find mentions that two men were hanged on Sep. 3, 2009 for armed robbery and murder. [30] However, pre-2008 self-reporting indicated that Syria was executing mainly for deliberate or aggravated murder. [31]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
“A death sentence cannot be imposed for offences committed by a person under 18 years of age pursuant to article 29 (a) of the Juveniles Act, as amended by Legislative Decree No. 52 of 1 September 2003.” [32] Under Article 237 of the Penal Code, the maximum penalty for juvenile offenders is imprisonment with obligatory work. [33]

Additionally, Syria is party to the ICCPR [34] and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [35] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
Under Article 43 of the Penal Code [36] and Article 454 of the Code of criminal procedure [37] a pregnant woman can be executed only after she has given birth to her child.Additionally, Syria is party to the ICCPR, [38] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women.

Women With Small Children.
Syria has ratified the Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights, [39] which prohibits execution of nursing women for at least two years after giving birth. [40]

Intellectually Disabled.
Under Articles 232 and 241 of the Penal Code, the death penalty is commuted to imprisonment if the offender is intellectually disabled. [41]

Mentally Ill.
An offender who was mentally ill at the time of the offense is exempted from the death penalty. [42] “If the offender is afflicted with insanity after committing an offence, during the investigation or trial or after sentencing, enforcement of the penalty is deferred until he is cured.” [43]

References

[1] Penal Code of Syria, art. 535, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[2] Penal Code of Syria, art. 535, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[3] Penal Code of Syria, art. 535, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[4] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, art. 50, Law No. 2, Apr. 12, 1993.
[5] Penal Code of Syria, arts. 577-578, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[6] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 22, para. 79, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[7] Interpol, Bioterrorism: National Laws and Measures: Counter-Terrorism Regulation of Biology, www.interpol.int/Public/BioTerrorism/NationalLaws/Syria.pdf, last accessed Apr. 6, 2011. Penal Code of Syria, arts. 581-585, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[8] Interpol, Bioterrorism: National Laws and Measures: Counter-Terrorism Regulation of Biology, www.interpol.int/Public/BioTerrorism/NationalLaws/Syria.pdf, last accessed Apr. 6, 2011.
[9] Interpol, Bioterrorism: National Laws and Measures: Counter-Terrorism Regulation of Biology, www.interpol.int/Public/BioTerrorism/NationalLaws/Syria.pdf, last accessed Apr. 6, 2011. Penal Code of Syria, arts. 581-585, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[10] Interpol, Bioterrorism: National Laws and Measures: Counter-Terrorism Regulation of Biology, www.interpol.int/Public/BioTerrorism/NationalLaws/Syria.pdf, last accessed Apr. 6, 2011.
[11] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, arts. 39, 40, Law No. 2, Apr. 12, 1993.
[12] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, art. 40, Law No. 2, Apr. 12, 1993.
[13] Penal Code of Syria, arts. 263-266, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition; U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 22, para. 79, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004; The Arab Penal Reform Organization, A discussion of a report on executions in the Arab world in Sharm Al Sheikh, http://www.hoodonline.org/news_details.php?sid=1136, Nov. 2007.
[14] According to Amnesty Intl. “anyone who opposes the aims of the Revolution” is punishable by death under arts. 3 & 4 of Legislative Decree No. 6 of 7 January 1965. Amnesty Intl., Syrian Arab Republic, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, 71st session - March 2001, pp. 6, 7, MDE 24/001/2001, Aug. 12, 2001.
[15] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 23, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[16] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 22, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[17] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, pp. 22-23, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[18] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 23, para. 80, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[19] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 22, para. 79, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[20] Penal Code of Syria, arts. 199-200, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition. See also, for attempted killing during a gang-robbery, U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 22, para. 79, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[21] Penal Code of Syria, art. 248, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[22] Law of Syria No. 49, art. 1, Jul. 7, 1980.
[23] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, art. 54, Law No. 2, Apr. 12, 1993.
[24] Penal Code of Syria, art. 197, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[25] Penal Code of Syria, art. 243, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[26] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, art. 39, Law No. 2 of 12 April 1993.
[27] Syria Narcotic Drugs Law, art. 39, Law No. 2 of 12 April 1993.
[28] Law of Syria No. 49, art. 1, Jul. 7, 1980.
[29] Hands Off Cain, 2009, Syria, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=23&nome=syria, last accessed Sep. 2, 2010.
[30] Hands Off Cain, 2009, Syria, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=23&nome=syria, last accessed Sep. 2, 2010.
[31] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 27, paras. 92-93, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[32] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 26, para. 90, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[33] Penal Code of Syria, art. 237, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[34] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[35] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants , last accessed Sep. 2, 2010.
[36] Penal Code of Syria, art. 43, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[37] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 26, para. 90, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[38] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[39] Mervat Rishmawi, The Arab Charter on Human Rights and the League of Arab States: An Update, Oxford Journals, vol. 10, issue 1, http://hrlr.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/1/169.short?rss=1#fn-2, 2010.
[40] Revised Arab Charter on Human Rights, art. 7(2), 2004, translated by: Dr. Mohammed Amin Al-Midani and Mathilde Cabanettes, revised by Professor Susan M. Akram, Boston University International Law Journal Vol. 24, p. 147-164, 2006.
[41] Penal Code of Syria, arts. 232, 241, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[42] Penal Code of Syria, art. 230, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[43] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 26, para. 90, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Apr. 21, 1969. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Yes. [8]

Date of Accession

February 6, 2007. [9]

Signed?

Yes. [10]

Date of Signature

August 17, 2006. [11]

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Vote

Against. [12]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [13]

Vote

Against. [14]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [15]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [16]

Vote

Against. [17]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [18]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Against. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [21]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Against. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [24]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Against. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[8] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[9] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[10] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[11] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[12] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Recorded Vote on A/C.3/71/L.27 Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, Nov. 17, 2016.
[13] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[14] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[15] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[16] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[17] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[18] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[19] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[20] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[21] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[22] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[23] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[24] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[25] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[26] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[27] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

The Constitution makes no reference to capital punishment or the right to life. [1]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

No. [2]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

It seems that there wereno executions between 1993 and 2001 but the reason why they resumed in 2002 is unknown. [3]

In 2007, the Syrian Minister in charge of the Red Crescent was reported to be pro-abolition. [4] But it seems to be a personal stand not followed by any political initiative.

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. [5]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

As of January 2011, we were unable to locate any domestic cases concerning the death penalty.

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

As of January 2011, we were unable to locate any judicial decisions from Syria.

What is the clemency process?

The clemency procedures are laid down in articles 459 to 467 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. [6]

The death penalty cannot be carried out until the Clemency Board (Commission des Grâces) has been consulted and the execution of the sentence is approved by the President. [7]

Syrian delegates to the U.N. have reported that “any person sentenced to death is entitled to apply to the Head of State for a pardon and may renew his application after one year in the event of its rejection.” [8]

In its 2009 Human Rights report, the U.S. Department of State reported that the president had issued amnesties to seven Lebanese prisoners and that death sentences issued by the Supreme State Security Court that year had been commuted to imprisonment. [9] The Department also reports the existence of periodic presidential amnesties. [10]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. [11]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

The decisions of the civil and military criminal courts that sentence a person to death are final. The only way to review the case is to lodge an appeal before the Court of Cassation, which has jurisdiction only regarding the formal, procedural and legal aspects of the conviction. [12] If a death-sentenced person does not lodge an appeal before the Court of Cassation, the Public Prosecutor is under an obligation to do it on his behalf. [13]

The decisions of the Supreme State Security Court (an exceptional court outside the ordinary criminal justice system) and the Field Military Court cannot be appealed. [14] Although “the minister of interior may ratify, nullify, or alter [a Supreme State Security Court] ruling, and the president must approve the verdict or may ask for a retrial,” [15] this is a clemency process, not an appeals process.

References

[1] Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic, Mar. 13, 1973.
[2] Constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic, Mar. 13, 1973.
[3] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Examen Des Rapports Soumis Par Les États Parties Conformément À L’Article 40 Du Pacte Et De La Situation Dans Des Pays (suite), p. 6, para. 18 & p. 10, para. 34, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SR.2291, http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G05/429/25/PDF/G0542925.pdf?OpenElement, Jul. 26, 2005.
[4] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Un ministre contre la peine de mort, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/news.php?new=715, Jan. 30, 2007.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[6] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 64, para. 258, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[7] Penal Code of Syria, arts. 43, 151, Law No. 148, Jun. 22, 1949, translated into French, private translation, 1979 edition.
[8] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 28, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. See also U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 28, para. 99, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[11] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[12] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Summary report on the compliance of the trial of Mr. Muhannad Al-Hasani before the Second Criminal Court in Damascus with international standards of fair trial, http://www.fidh.org/Summary-report-on-the-compliance-of-the-trial-of, Jun. 30, 2010; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 28, para. 95, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[14] Sayes et al. v. Syrian Arab Republic, paras. 11, 28, Opinion No. 16/2006, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/4/40/Add.1, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, 2006; U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010. For more information about Syria’s Supreme State Security Court, see Human Rights Watch, Far From Justice, 1-56432-434-6, Feb. 2009.
[15] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

As of September 2010, we could not determine where death-sentenced prisoners are incarcerated.

Description of Prison Conditions

The Committee against Torture recently expressed its deep concern about “numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations concerning the routine use of torture by law enforcement and investigative officials, at their instigation or with their consent, in particular in detention facilities.” [1] The same Committee received information on “the deplorable living conditions in places of detention, prison overcrowding, lack of hygiene, insufficient food, health risks and inadequate health care.” [2] Juveniles are not separated from adults. [3] The U.S. Department of State reports that prison conditions do not meet international standards for health and sanitation. Political prisoners are reported to be discriminated against. [4]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

As of September 2010, we could not identify foreign nationals under death sentence in Syria. [5] It is reported that in 2009, the president issued amnesties to seven Lebanese prisoners. [6]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

As of September 2010, we found no reports of foreign nationals on death row.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of September 2010, we found no reports of women held under sentence of death.

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

As of September 2010, we found no reports of individuals held under sentence of death for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

Although we discovered no information relating specifically to the racial or ethnic composition of death row, it is reported that the Kurdish minority is more likely to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment in prison. [7]

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

According to the U.S. Department of State, the courts appoint lawyers for indigent defendants. [8] Lawyers are designated at no cost by the Bar Association. [9] We were not able to uncover information about the availability and competence of lawyers in practice.

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

According to the U.S. Department of State, the courts appoint lawyers for indigent defendants. [10] Lawyers are designated at no cost by the Bar Association. [11] We were not able to uncover information about the availability of lawyers for the indigent on appeal.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Syrian Bar Association is reported to be a non-independent organization controlled by the Syrian authorities. [12] The Bar Association is reported to have forbidden its lawyers in some cases to visit their clients in jail. [13] When the accused is tried by the Supreme State Security Court, “lawyers are not allowed to meet with their clients until the trial begins.” [14] It is also reported that guards regularly eavesdrop on prisoners' conversations with counsel. [15]

In June and July 2010, two lawyers were sentenced after a trial denounced as unfair by the International Federation for Human Rights to 3 years imprisonment on charges related to their professional activities as lawyers and human rights activists. [16]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Since 1962, Syria has been under Emergency Law, which allows the suspension of fundamental rights and freedoms. [17] Preventive arrests are allowed; arrest warrants are not needed; in cases involving political or national security offenses, suspects are detained incommunicado for prolonged periods; other infringements are permitted. [18]

The Committee against Torture recently expressed its deep concern at the “numerous, consistent and serious allegations” that the Supreme State Security Court “fails to function in accordance with the international standards for courts of law.” [19] But it seems that the frequent violations of the right to fair trial occur even before the ordinary courts, which, reportedly, are not independent of the ruling Ba’ath party. [20] The same Committee was also concerned by the “numerous, ongoing and consistent allegations concerning the routine use of torture by law enforcement and investigative officials, at their instigation or with their consent, in particular in detention facilities.” [21] Confessions obtained by torture are reported to be invoked as a form of evidence in proceedings. [22]

The lack of judicial independence is also a serious issue. [23] “According to observers, approximately 95 percent of judges [are] Ba'athists or closely aligned to the Ba'ath Party and therefore not independent.” [24]

References

[1] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 2, para. 7, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010. See also U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 11, para. 30, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[3] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 11, para. 30, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[5] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, May 7, 2010.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[7] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 3, para. 8, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[9] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 25, paras. 86-87, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/0/30d6d16582a25c66c1256fce003ae238/$FILE/G0444026.pdf, Oct. 19, 2004.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[11] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Third periodic report, Syria, p. 25, paras. 86-87, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SYR/2004/3, Oct. 19, 2004.
[12] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Conviction of Haytham Al-Maleh, a 79 years-old human rights lawyer, signals continuing persecution of Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Syria, http://www.fidh.org/Conviction-of-Haytham-Al-Maleh-a-79-years-old, Jul. 5, 2010.
[13] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Summary report on the compliance of the trial of Mr. Muhannad Al-Hasani before the Second Criminal Court in Damascus with international standards of fair trial, http://www.fidh.org/Summary-report-on-the-compliance-of-the-trial-of, Jun. 30, 2010.
[14] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[15] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[16] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Syria: Muhannad Al-Hasani sentenced to three years Imprisonment, http://www.fidh.org/SYRIA-Muhannad-Al-Hasani-sentenced-to-three-years, Jun. 23, 2010. Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Conviction of Haytham Al-Maleh, a 79 years-old human rights lawyer, signals continuing persecution of Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Syria, http://www.fidh.org/Conviction-of-Haytham-Al-Maleh-a-79-years-old, Jul. 5, 2010.
[17] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 10, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[18] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[19] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[20] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Summary report on the compliance of the trial of Mr. Muhannad Al-Hasani before the Second Criminal Court in Damascus with international standards of fair trial, http://www.fidh.org/Summary-report-on-the-compliance-of-the-trial-of, Jun. 30, 2010; Razan Zeitouneh & Abdul Hai Al-Sayyed, Can Extraordinary Courts Ensure Justice, Supreme State Security Court, p. 4, Al Bosla, http://www.dchrs.org/english/news.php?nachra, Dec. 1, 2007.
[21] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 2, para. 7, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010. See also U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[22] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 12, para. 33, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[23] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 5, para. 12, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[24] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In its August 2005 Concluding Observations, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern at the “nature and number of the offences carrying the death penalty [which] are not consistent with the requirement of the Covenant that this form of punishment must be limited to the most serious crimes” and consequently recommended Syria to limit the cases in which the death penalty can be imposed. [1]

The Committee also recommended that Syria “take firm measures to stop the use of incommunicado detention and eradicate all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law enforcement officials, and ensure prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations by an independent mechanism into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment, prosecute and punish perpetrators, and provide effective remedies and rehabilitation to the victims.” [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In a May 2006 Opinion, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention expressed its serious concern about the Supreme State Security and Field Military Courts’ non-compliance with international standards on the right to a fair trial. “For example, lawyers are not granted access to their clients prior to the trial, proceedings are initiated before legal representatives have an opportunity to study the case file, and lawyers are frequently denied their right to speak on behalf of their clients. Lawyers require written permission from the Court’s President before they can see their clients in prison. Moreover, those sentenced by the Supreme State Security Court and the Field Military Court had no right to appeal their sentences”. It subsequently decided that given the gravity of the violation of the right to a fair trial, plaintiffs had suffered an arbitrary deprivation of liberty. [3]

The General Assembly’s Human Rights Council will engage in the Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Syria in its 12th Session (2011); for information, see: http://www.upr-info.org/-Syria-.html.

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding Observations Of The Human Rights Committee, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 7, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/84/SYR, Aug. 9, 2005.
[2] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties Under Article 40 Of The Covenant, Concluding Observations Of The Human Rights Committee, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 9, U.N. Doc. CCPR/CO/84/SYR, Aug. 9, 2005.
[3] Sayes et al. v. Syrian Arab Republic, para. 28, Opinion No. 16/2006, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/4/40/Add.1, Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, 2006.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

Razan Zeitouneh & Abdul Hai Al-Sayyed, Can Extraordinary Courts Ensure Justice, Supreme State Security Court, Al Bosla, http://www.dchrs.org/english/news.php?nachra, Dec. 1, 2007.

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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