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SyriaBashar el-Assad
President

(JPEG) The sole candidate at presidential elections, President Assad was returned to power as head of state in 2007 with more than 97% of the vote. More than eight years after taking power the Syrian president still refuses any compromise including on maintaining the state of emergency, in force since 1963. New political parties are still not allowed and a strict press law remains in place. Syria’s isolation after the 2005 assassination in Beirut of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri has made the regime take a harder line towards journalists and political activists. Arrests, state security police summonses, bans on leaving the country and blocking of Internet websites have increased. Over a dozen pro-democrat militants were jailed in 2007 and in total at least seven journalists and cyber-dissidents are imprisoned in the country. President Assad told the US TV network ABC there were no political prisoners in Syria. “We have only prisoners who were involved in terrorist attacks and those who have broken the law,” he said.

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Predators
There are instigators and powerful people behind press freedom violations whose responsibility is not always apparent. Whether presidents, ministers, chiefs of staff, religious leaders or the heads of armed groups, these predators of press freedom have the power to censor, imprison, kidnap, torture and, in the worst cases, murder journalists. To better expose them, Reporters Without Borders has produced these portraits.

Armed Islamist groups
Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan
Ilham Aliev
Azerbaijan
Alexander Lukashenko
Belarus
Than Shwe
Burma
Hu Jintao
China
Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano
Colombia
FARC
Colombia
Raúl Castro
Cuba
Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Equatorial Guinea
Issaias Afeworki
Eritrea
Yahya Jammeh
Gambia
Ali Khamenei
Iran
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran
Israeli Defence Forces
Israel
Nursultan Nazarbayev
Kazakhstan
Choummaly Sayasone
Laos
Muammar Gaddafi
Libya
Star Force Police
Maldives
Drug cartels
Mexico
Armed groups
Nepal
State Security Service (SSS)
Nigeria
Kim Jong-il
North Korea
The Executive Force
Palestinian territories, Gaza Strip
Palestinian Security Forces
Palestinian Territories, West Bank
Vladimir Putin
Russia
Paul Kagame
Rwanda
Abdallah Ibn al-Saud
Saudi Arabia
Mohamed Dhere and Mohamed Warsame Darwish
Somalia
Al-Shabaab
Somalia
ETA
Spain
Gotabhaya Rajapakse, Defence secretary
Sri Lanka
Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali
Tunisia
Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov
Turkmenistan
Islam Karimov
Uzbekistan
Nong Duc Manh
Vietnam
Robert Mugabe
Zimbabwe