Tag Archives: Syria

Syria: L’humanisme plutôt que l’humanitaire de Justine Augier

le 15 novembre, 2017

Justine Augier, écrivain, dresse le portrait et les combats de l’avocate syrienne Razan Zaitouneh dans “De l’ardeur” (Actes Sud, septembre 2017), qui a reçu le prix Renaudot essai 2017.

 

Razan Zaitouneh, photo non datée.

Une enquête syrienne

Installée aujourd’hui à Beyrouth, après Jérusalem et New York, la romancière Justine Augier vient d’être récompensée du Prix Renaudot Essai pour De l’ardeur, publié chez Actes sud, livre enquête sur la disparition d’une avocate syrienne. Razan Zaitouneh, militante des droits de l’homme, a passé sa vie à se protéger des intrusions du régime de Damas dont elle a documenté les dérives et les crimes commis dans son pays. Figure de la dissidence, discrète, mais courageuse et déterminée, elle s’applique à effacer les traces qu’elle peut laisser puis vivra cachée avant d’être enlevée en décembre 2013, après deux ans et demi de guerre civile.

Un portrait de l’absente que Justine Augier s’attache à reconstituer ou plutôt à « restituer », une histoire lacunaire dans un pays encore en guerre, en proie au “crime permanent.”

“Le régime a souhaité faire disparaître Razan, et avec elle une vision du monde complexe et libre.” Justine Augier

https://www.franceculture.fr/emissions/la-grande-table-2eme-partie/lhumanisme-plutot-que-lhumanitaire-de-justice-augier

http://www.lefigaro.fr/livres/2017/11/22/03005-20171122ARTFIG00278-justine-augier-le-printemps-syrien-ne-peut-etre-efface.php

https://www.ouest-france.fr/pays-de-la-loire/nantes-44000/nantes-une-figure-de-la-dissidence-syrienne-en-debat-aux-bien-aimes-5393227

http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2017/10/26/a-la-recherche-de-razan-zaitouneh-icone-syrienne_5206070_3260.html

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh (ENGLISH)

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syrias-eastern-ghouta-region-faces-critical-humanitarian-crisis-1863346342 (ENGLISH)

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/11/23/raqqa-war-all-against-all/ (ENGLISH)

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Syria: GCHR calls for the immediate release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant Mohamed Thatha

October 2, 2017

The Syrian government should immediately release prominent human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) said today on the fifth anniversary of their disappearance.

The two men have been missing since 02 October 2012 when they are believed to have been arrested at a government-operated checkpoint in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya. Despite repeated requests for information to the public prosecutor’s office in Damascus in 2012 and 2013 by family and colleagues, Syrian authorities have denied that they arrested the men.

However, individuals released from the government’s custody in 2015 have informed Ma’touq’s family that while in detention they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities, including State Security Branch 285 and Military Intelligence Branch 235 in Damascus. Since then, the family has not received any information on his whereabouts. Despite repeated calls from human rights organisations, Ma’touq and Thatha have not been released.

There are grave concerns for the health of Ma’touq, as he suffers from advanced lung disease, for which he requires appropriate medication and medical care.

The Syrian authorities should immediately disclose the whereabouts of Ma’touq and Thatha, and unconditionally release them as well as all others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights in Syria.

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1701

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1702 (ARABIC)

Syria: «DE L’ARDEUR», PORTRAIT D’UNE ICÔNE SYRIENNE

le 6 septembre, 2017

Razan Zaitouneh a survécu dans la clandestinité pendant deux ans, avant de disparaître.

Justine Augier a mené une enquête fournie et édifiante sur les traces de Razan Zaitouneh, avocate enlevée en 2013, qui documentait les exactions du conflit.

De l’ardeur, mais aussi de l’audace et du labeur, il en a fallu à Justine Augier pour retracer le parcours d’une icône de la révolution syrienne qu’elle découvre après la disparition forcée de l’une et de l’autre. Un pari risqué pour une étrangère qui s’introduit dans une histoire récente et incandescente, par fascination légitime pour une héroïne, sa cause et son sort, sacrés pour des centaines de milliers de Syriens. L’auteure rapporte dans le prologue de son livre la réaction de l’un d’entre eux : «Il m’a dit que quoi que j’écrive, cela ne lui plairait pas, que je n’y arriverais pas, qu’après tout, son histoire ne me concernait pas.» Elle persiste dans son entreprise, reconnaissant la quête d’identification avec son héroïne, «parce que ce fut une longue période où j’aurais voulu être – et j’ai même cru pouvoir devenir – comme Razan». Elle note : «Nous sommes du même âge. Razan et moi.»

Razan Zaitouneh avait 37 ans quand, dans la nuit du 9 au 10 décembre 2013, elle a été enlevée à Douma, ville à la périphérie de Damas, «libérée» des forces du régime de Bachar al-Assad et contrôlée par des groupes armés de l’opposition syrienne. Le lendemain matin, l’appartement qu’elle occupait avec ses trois compagnons de planque – son mari Wael Hamadeh et des amis militants, Samira Khalil et Nazem Hamadi – est vidé de ses occupants et de leurs seuls ordinateurs et téléphones portables.

http://next.liberation.fr/livres/2017/09/06/de-l-ardeur-portrait-d-une-icone-syrienne_1594576

Syria: Justice for the thousands of victims of enforced disappearances

August 30, 2017

Front Line Defenders

We, the undersigned civil society organisations, commemorate the victims of enforced disappearances in Syria and support their families, urging the international community to support their demand to ensure justice, truth and reparation and the immediate release of all those enforcedly held in secret detention. As the world marks today the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, our organisations condemn the continued and systematic use of enforced disappearance which amounts to a crime against humanity committed by the Syrian government.

We also call upon all armed groups to the conflict to promptly release all those held disappeared and disclose their fates and whereabouts.

Since the rise of the peaceful protests in Syria, our organisations have been monitoring, documenting and campaigning on cases of hundreds of Syrian individuals who have been subjected to enforced disappearance. Many of those are women and children. Thousands of family members of those disappeared are struggling for justice in their dangerous and impossible quest to find the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. They experience mental and emotional anguish, while placed outside the protection of the law, and are often blackmailed, manipulated and used by brokers. The struggle for justice must not cease, accountability towards enforced disappearance must be high on the agenda of all international peace making and negotiations on Syria which might take place.

We call for justice for Bassel Khartabil, a Syrian-Palestinian software engineer and free speech activist, who was subjected to extrajudicial execution by a military field court in October 2015 and whose fate only became known in August 2017. On 15 March 2012, Military Intelligence had arrested Bassel Khartabil and held him incommunicado for eight months.

We urge the Syrian government to immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of victims of enforced disappearances including Syrian lawyer Khalil Maatouk, whose whereabouts are unknown since he was arrested at a government military checkpoint in October 2012. We call on the armed opposition groups to release Syrian human rights defenders, including Razan Zaitouneh, Samira Khalil, Wael Hamadeh and Nazem Hammadi, who were kidnapped from the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) offices by armed, masked gunmen in Douma on 9 December 2013.

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/syria-justice-thousands-victims-enforced-disappearances

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh

https://www.icj.org/thailand-pass-legislation-criminalizing-enforced-disappearance-torture-without-further-delay/

 

Syria: ‘This case is about saving humanity’

August 20, 2017

Mazen Darwish cowered in the corner of a blood-stained cell in the Syrian capital Damascus.

“Tomorrow, I’ll be free,” he told himself.

Deep down, he knew this was not true, but holding onto the faint glimmer of hope kept him alive. He had not showered in months and felt weak from food deprivation. Every day, he was beaten with clubs, shocked with electric prods and hung by his arms from the wall, Darwish recalled.

“The guards used torture for torture’s sake – not to get information, but to humiliate and destroy us,” he told Al Jazeera.

The prominent human rights activist spent three and a half years in government custody. In August 2015, he was released.

“Regime members have acted with impunity for years now,” said Darwish, 43. “Any political solution to the Syrian conflict without accountability and justice won’t bring sustainable peace.”

Darwish, a lawyer and pro-democracy activist, openly criticised the Syrian regime’s crackdown on anti-government protests in March 2011. In February 2012, security forces stormed the Damascus office of his organisation, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. Darwish, his wife and other members of the centre were arrested.

In the ensuing years, he was transferred from one detention centre to the next, including a military branch, an air force security camp and a state security branch. Within the first year, Darwish said, he lost 90 pounds and a skin infection spread across his body. “I looked like a skeleton,” he said.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/08/syria-case-saving-humanity-170819101918109.html

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/screening-syrias-disappeared-documentary-and-panel-event-leading-syrian-activist

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazen_Darwish

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-mazen-darwish

http://www.lemonde.fr/syrie/article/2017/08/04/en-syrie-la-mort-en-prison-d-un-passionne-du-logiciel-libre_5168436_1618247.html (FRANCAIS)

Syria: De l’ardeur. Histoire de Razan Zaitouneh, avocate syrienne

le 18 août, 2017

Image result for razan zaitouneh

Justine Augier

Actes Sud, 320 pp., 21,80 €. En librairie le 6 septembre.

Avocate, Razan Zaitouneh se tenait au côté des prisonniers mais aussi des familles, écoutait leurs histoires, aux uns et aux autres. L’attente des femmes, la vie derrière les murs : par empathie, et comme par prescience, la jeune Syrienne (née en 1977, disparue depuis 2013) commence par essayer de savoir, de comprendre. Quelles tortures doit-on affronter ? Que ressent-on lorsqu’on sort ? Rassembler le plus d’informations possible sur la répression est la première mission de cette militante, qui doit bientôt entrer dans la clandestinité, et qui passe du combat pour les droits de l’homme au combat pour la révolution. Elle a derrière elle mille jours de siège, à Douma, ville tenue par les rebelles, lorsqu’elle est enlevée par un groupe islamiste. Le portrait composé par Justine Augier à partir d’une longue enquête, est en même temps l’analyse d’un système politique atroce, fondé sur la manipulation, la terreur et l’opacité.

http://next.liberation.fr/livres/2017/08/18/de-l-ardeur-histoire-de-razan-zaitouneh-avocate-syrienne_1590657

https://www.newsdeeply.com/syria/articles/2017/07/25/almost-as-bad-as-the-regime-inside-syrias-rebel-run-prisons (ENGLISH)

https://www.ifex.org/syria/2017/08/16/magazine-banned-journalists-sentenced/ (ENGLISH)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh (ENGLISH)

Syria: Don’t be fooled: Assad is no friend of Syria’s Christian minorities

May 11, 2017

Don't be fooled: Assad is no friend of Syria's Christian minorities

Last week, during a markup of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher asserted that the Assad regime was “the protector of the Christians” in Syria.

As Syrian Christians who grew up in Syria, we would beg to differ. Hundreds of innocent Christians seeking freedom have been tortured to death in Assad’s jails or shot to death by his brutal thugs – including the activist Bassel Shehadeh, who was killed at a protest, then killed in spirit because Assad forces prevented his friends from going to church to pray for his soul. Human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk has been detained in Assad’s jails in Damascus for over four years for the “crime” of defending detainees in Assad’s jails.

These anecdotes are not new and are not isolated incidents.

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/religion/332938-dont-be-fooled-assad-is-no-friend-of-syrias-christian-minorities

https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/16/khalil-maatouk-lawyer

https://www.fidh.org/fr/themes/defenseurs-des-droits-humains/syrie-appel-a-la-liberation-immediate-de-l-avocat-des-droits-de-l (FRANCAIS)