March 27, 2011
A Syrian government adviser has confirmed to Al Jazeera that the country’s emergency law is to be lifted. Bouthaina Shaaban, an adviser to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, told Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry in the capital, Damascus, on Sunday that the law would “absolutely” be lifted, but failed to give a timetable. The repeal of the emergency law, in place since the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power, has been a key demand of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent days to demand greater political freedoms. The emergency law imposes restrictions on public gatherings and movement and authorises the arrest of “suspects or persons who threaten security”. It also authorises the interrogation of any individual and the surveillance of personal communication as well as official control of the content of newspapers and other media before publication. The state also announced a series of reforms, including the release of detainees and plans to form new laws on the media and licensing political parties.