Anwar al-Bunni

human rights lawyer

Anwar al-Bunni is a Syrian human rights lawyer. He was head of the short-lived European Union-funded human rights training centre in Syria called the Center for Legal Research and Studies until it was shut down by the government following his 2006 arrest as a result of his signing the Beirut-Damascus Declaration calling for democratic reform. A year later he was given a five-year sentence for "spreading false or exaggerated news that could weaken national morale, affiliating with an unlicensed political association with an international nature, discrediting state institutions and contacting a foreign country". Amnesty International designated him a prisoner of conscience, and then U.S. President George W. Bush named al-Bunni in a speech as a political prisoner unfairly jailed by Syria. After his release from prison in 2011, he continued to work as a lawyer. He escaped from Syria the end of 2014. He now lives in Germany, working to open the files of war criminals in Syria.

In 2008 he received the Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk. The following year he was awarded the Human Rights Award by the German Association of Judges.

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Events in past editions