Syrian dissident detained

From Ya Libnan, May 15:

Beirut & Damascus — Prominent writer and democracy campaigner Michel Kilo was detained after calling for better relations between Syria and Lebanon.

Syria detained Kilo days after he signed a petition calling for radical reform of Syria’s relations with Lebanon, his family and a rights group said Monday.

Kilo, 66, was detained Sunday, said Ammar Qurabi, the head of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights.

Kilo’s daughter, Shaza, told The Associated Press that her father was summoned by the security police at noon on Sunday and did not return home. Kilo has long been an outspoken critic of the Syrian government. He has long called for reform in Syria and has criticized the government’s involvement in Lebanon’s political affairs.

He is a political analyst and well-known writer whose works are frequently published by Lebanese newspapers, including An-Nahar.

Qurabi told the AP he had no information on the reason for Kilo’s arrest, but he said it might be connected to Kilo’s signing of the petition calling for better relations with Lebanon. Some 500 Syrian and Lebanese intellectuals signed the document last week.

Syria has recently stepped up its arrest of human rights activists and critics. The London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International criticized the government last month for the detentions, describing them as another “blot” on the country’s poor human rights record.

Syrian opposition group RPS elects new leadership

In a related development the Reform Party of Syria (RPS) announced that it has conducted new secret balloted elections for the opposition group’s leadership, with the goal of promoting new and younger leadership figures and responding to threats by Syrian intelligence against the RPS.

Ten new members were chosen to the Executive Committee with an average age of 33 and four either resigned their posts or were forced out. For security purposes, the new leaders’ names will remain secret. US-based Farid Ghadry, the President of the RPS and one of the most visible faces of the Syrian exile opposition, had his mandate as president of RPS extended for another 2 years. Since 2001, the RPS has worked to bring together a number of religious and ethnic groups from Syria together to oppose the Baathist regime.

So is this guy a neocon stooge? And if so does that mean we don’t protest his detention? C’mon, what do you have to say, gang?

See our last post on Syria.