Syrian human rights activists under siege, watchdog warns

Other News Materials 18 October 2007 01:09 (UTC +04:00)

(Guardian) - Syria was accused today of "besieging" human rights activists by preventing them meeting and travelling abroad and forcing them to live in fear of repression.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based watchdog, says in a new report that the regime of President Bashar al- Assad has failed to live up to early hopes that he would be more liberal than his father, Hafez, whom he succeeded in 2000.

A short-lived " Damascus spring" gave way to a new crackdown in 2001, and draconian emergency laws remain in force, the study finds.