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Lifting Syria's emergency law "useless": Maleh

Syrian dissident Haitham Maleh speaks to Reuters during an interview at his office in Damascus April 14, 2006. REUTERS/ Khaled al-Hariri

AMMAN (Reuters) - Prominent Syrian opposition figure Haitham al-Maleh dismissed a decree lifting emergency law on Thursday and said the move was “useless” without an independent judiciary and accountability for security apparatus.

“The problem is that the ruling elite and the security have put their hands on the judiciary and that other legislation they had introduced exempt the security forces from being held accountable to law,” said Maleh, a lawyer and former judge.

Maleh, 80, spent most of his professional life campaigning for an end to emergency law imposed by the authoritarian Baath Party when it took power in 1963 and for restoring what he terms the rule of law Syria’s Baathist rulers destroyed.

Reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis