Syria: Trial of human rights activist postponed

A Syrian court again postponed on Tuesday the trial of a prominent human rights activist for three weeks to allow the court to issue a verdict, a human rights group said. Ammar Qurabi, the head of the National Organization for Human Rights, said in a statement faxed to foreign agencies in Damascus that a verdict would be announced on April 24 in the case of activist Anwar al-Bunni after the defense had submitted its report to the court. There was no immediate word from the Syrian government, which rarely comments on the detention and prosecution of suspects wanted in political or security-related cases. Al-Bunni, a lawyer and member of the Human Rights Association in Syria, is charged with spreading false or exaggerated news that could weaken the nation's morale, affiliating with an unlicensed political association that has an international nature, discrediting the state's institutions and public administration and contacting a foreign country. If convicted, al-Bunni faces up to three years in prison.