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Syrian president lifts emergency law

Syrian President announces the abolishing of the emergency law heralding the end of state security courts and legalizing peaceful protest

AFP , Thursday 21 Apr 2011
In this image made from television, protestors are seen near a barricade in Daraa (Photo: AP)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued decrees ending nearly five decades of emergency law, abolishing state security courts and allowing citizens to protest peacefully, state television reported.

The announcements made successively in news flashes on state television said Assad was ending the emergency law imposed when the ruling Baath Party seized power in 1963 as well as the state security courts.

A third decree said citizens would be granted "the right to peacefully demonstrate" and noted that this is one of the "basic human rights guaranteed by the Syrian constitution."

The moves are aimed at placating more than a month of unprecedented protests across Syria.
Amnesty International says about 220 people have been killed in the crackdown on the protests, which first erupted in the capital Damascus on March 15.

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