Vlaardingen, 20 February 2006
Syrian human rights activist Haitham Maleh has been awarded the 2006 Geuzen medal. Mr B.R. Bot, Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs, will present the medal. The sons of Haitham Maleh, Anas Al Maleh and Iyas Maleh, will also attend the ceremony in the Grote Kerk in Vlaardingen on 13 March 2006.
The Board of The Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation (Stichting Geuzenverzet 1940-1945) has awarded the 2006 Geuzen Medal to Haitham Maleh from Syria for his courageous fight for human rights. By awarding the Geuzen Medal, the Foundation wishes to support human rights activists in Syria and ask acknowledgement of their struggle.
Maleh forms part of a small group of human rights activists who have the courage to defy the intimidations of the Syrian regime. He devotes himself to promoting respect for human rights and democracy in Syria. He was imprisoned from 1980 to 1987 because of his beliefs. Mr Maleh is a lawyer and member of the board and former chairman of the unrecognised but tolerated Human Rights Association in Syria (HRAS). He is an example to others in Syria and respected, even by his opponents of the secret services.
He pleads for abolishment of the state of emergency in Syria. He fights for independent and impartial courts, against the death penalty for members of the Muslim Brotherhood and for the release of political prisoners. The small group of activists to which Maleh belongs is mostly deprived of international attention as a result of the effective repression under the Syrian regime.
The 'Geuzen resistance' will be commemorated in Vlaardingen on Monday, 13 March 2006 and the Geuzen Medal will be awarded. The people invited to the ceremonies include other 'Geuzen' and surviving relatives of deceased 'Geuzen'. The commemoration will commence with a modest gathering at the Geuzen grave in the Emaus cemetery in Vlaardingen, where wreaths will be laid and a minute's silence will be observed. There will then be a silent march from the Geuzen grave to the Markt (market square). At 2 p.m., a memorial service will be held at the Geuzen Monument on the Markt. The ceremony to award the Geuzen medal will be held in the Grote Kerk. The ceremony will start at 3 p.m.; attendance is is by invitation only.
For more information: http://www.geuzenverzet.nl/.
Note for the press (not for publication):
Press conference on Friday, 10 March 2006
You are invited to attend a press conference to be held in the Vlaardingen City Hall (Market entrance) on Friday, 10 March 2006 at 10 a.m.
Gathering for pupils on Monday, 13 March 2006
You are invited to attend the gathering for pupils to be held in the Vlaardingen City Hall (Market entrance) on Monday, 13 March 2006 at 10.30 a.m. Primary and secondary school pupils will talk with the laureate and with the chairman of the Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation.
Please inform us by Wednesday, 8 March at the latest if you wish to attend the press conference and/or the gathering for pupils. You can call the Vlaardingen municipality's Communication and Information Management department, telephone: +31 (0)10) 248 4121 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Award of Geuzen medal on Monday, 13 March 2006
Given the limited space in the Grote Kerk for tv cameras we offer the possibility to obtain images immediately after the ceremony. You can contact Paul van Meurs, telephone +31 (0)6 531 786 01 for this purpose.
There will be a press stage for photographers and seats have been reserved for other press members. If you wish to attend the award ceremony you can contact communication advisor Edith Kwakernaak by phone, +31 (0)10 248 4121, or send an e-mail to email@example.com by Wednesday, 8 March at the latest.
For more information regarding the 2006 Geuzen medal, please contact Mr Borghouts, chairman of The Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation, telephone +31 (0)23 514 43 47 and the Communications and Information Management department of the Vlaardingen municipality, telephone +31 (0)10 248 4121. You can also contact this department for photos of the laureate and the medal; they are available to the press free of charge.