first_img The Damascus criminal court decided to suspend journalist Michel Kilo’s trial during its opening hearing on 31 October in order to allow a higher appeal court to consider various petitions presented by his defence lawyers.Kilo faces the possibility of life imprisonment on various charges that include inciting “religious and racial divisions” and “insulting official institutions and personalities.”————————————————————————–30.10.2006 Michel Kilo, Anwar Bunni and other political prisoners go on hunger strikeReporters Without Borders voiced deep concern today about journalist and writer Michel Kilo, who began a hunger strike on 28 October along with lawyer Anwar Bunni and other political prisoners who were arrested last May after signing a joint statement calling for an improvement in relations with Lebanon.The hunger strike, which is to last a week, is being held to protest against their prison conditions and the fact that the authorities did not execute a judicial order for Kilo’s release on bail on 19 October.Kilo’s lawyer told Reporters Without Borders that his trial on the new charges that have been brought against him is scheduled to start on 31 October before a Damascus criminal court.————————————————————————–23.10.2006 Trumped-up charges used to keep journalist in prisonReporters Without Borders today accused Syria’s judicial authorities of bringing new, trumped- up charges against detained writer and journalist Michel Kilo in order to keep him in prison and avoid having to execute the provisional release order issued by a judge on 19 October.“Michel Kilo was already facing life imprisonment,” the press freedom organisation said. “This escalation by the Damascus criminal court is aimed at keeping a journalist in prison at all costs, despite a judge’s release order.Reporters Without Borders added: “In Syria, the prosecutor general defends the regime’s interests at the law’s expense. The security apparatus’ meddling in judicial decision-making is part of the ruling Baath Party’s modus operandi. But this travesty of justice has gone on too long. We call for Kilo’s release and the withdrawal of all the charges against him.”Kilo was not freed although his release was announced on 19 October and the bail was paid. The prosecutor general held up the release order long enough for an investigating judge to bring new charges against him.The order for Kilo’s release on bail of 1,000 Syrian pounds (about 16 euros) was issued by judge Halima Haitar and was signed by the referring judge. Such an order is irrevocable under the Syrian criminal code unless the defendant is charged a new crime. Today, Kilo was accused of “inciting civil rebellion” and a “serious attack on the dignity of the state, exposing the country to the threat of aggressive acts.” This provided the grounds for keeping him in pretrial detention.A contributor to several Arabic-language newspapers, Kilo is known for advocating democratic reforms in Syria. He also heads the Damascus-based Hourriyat centre for press freedom and free expression, founded last year.He was arrested on 14 May after signing a joint statement by intellectuals from Syria and Lebanon called “Beirut-Damascus, Damascus-Beirut,” which called for a change in the relations between the two countries. He was charged with inciting “religious and racial divisions,” publishing “mendacious and exaggerated reports with the aim of discrediting the government” and “defaming the president and the courts.” November 2, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Michel Kilo’s trial suspended while defence petitions considered SyriaMiddle East – North Africa to go further RSF_en Receive email alerts Toll of ten years of civil war on journalists in Syria SyriaMiddle East – North Africa February 3, 2021 Find out more News March 8, 2021 Find out morecenter_img Organisation Damascus TV presenter arrested under cyber-crime law Help by sharing this information March 12, 2021 Find out more News News News Wave of Kurdish arrests of Syrian journalists Follow the news on Syrialast_img read more