Syria detains prominent human rights activist

Other News Materials 3 April 2008 18:08 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The Damascus-based Syrian National Organization for Human Rights (NOHR) said Thursday that authorities arrested a human rights activist for criticizing the information minister.

Mohamed Dak al-Bab, a human rights activist, has written an article criticizing the Syrian minister for information.

In a statement issued by the NOHR, Dak al-Bab said that the minister had "a poor TV appearance."

Since then, he was called by the Syrian intelligence and was detained.

Dak al-Bab was previously arrested in 2000.

The detention comes as a part of a crackdown on human rights activist and political reformers.

Last December, authorities arrested 30 activists out of 168 present. Most activists were released a few hours after the arrest.

When Syrian President Bashar al-Asad took over the country in 2000, there were high expectations of achieving genuine reform.

Damascus have seen relative openness and room for political dialogue, but this came to a swift end within a few months when Syria started to tighten the noose on opposition movements and dissidents.