Mustafa Ismail is a Kurdish lawyer who has repeatedly defended members of the political opposition, but who also engaged actively in public debate. He also founded the Kurdish Human Rights Committee and the Kurdish Center for Democratic Studies.
Mustafa Ismail was arrested on 12 December 2009. It was unclear for a long time after his arrest where and why he was detained. On 13 May 2010 the prosecutor of the Military Court of Aleppo announced that Ismail was charged with “planning activities aimed at offending Syrian relationships with foreign countries” and with “being a member of an illegal organization aiming to divide Syria”. It then became clear where he was detained and that he would be prosecuted before the Military Court.
Prior to his arrest, Ismail was questioned several times about his public appearances in TV interviews and publications on the internet; several human rights organisations believe the prosecution is connected to those interviews and publications. On 7 November 2010, he received a seven-year prison sentence. His sentence was afterwards reduced to 2.5 years on the basis of Articles 267 and 278 of the Syrian Criminal Code.
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