Tag Archives: Syria

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

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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)

Syria: Razan Zaitouneh spends another birthday in captivity with her colleagues

April 29, 2017

On 29 April 2017, on the occasion of Syrian human rights defender Razan Zaitouneh’s birthday, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights reiterates calls for her immediate release. She is spending it in captivity for the fourth time since her abduction in 2013, along with her three colleagues, her husband Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi.

On 9 December 2013, the four human rights defenders – collectively known as the “Douma Four” – were abducted by a group of armed men who raided the offices of the Violations Documentation Centre (VDC) in Douma, near Damascus. There has been no news of their whereabouts in the past three and a half years but they are presumed to be held by armed groups in control of the area. The family is concerned for Zaitouneh’s health and well-being given the absence of any information.

Zaitouneh has been one of the most prominent lawyers and human rights activists defending political prisoners in Syria since 2001. She has played a key role in efforts to defend human rights for all people and protect independent groups and Syrian activists. Along with a number of other activists, Zaitouneh established the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in Syria, and co-founded in April 2011 the Local Coordination Committees (LCCs), which co-ordinate the work of local committees in various cities and towns across Syria.

Zaitouneh was one of three finalists for the 2016 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and was awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award of Reach All Women in War (RAW in WAR) among other accolades, for her human rights work.

On 9 December 2016, on the third anniversary of the disappearance of Zaitouneh and her colleagues, 56 human rights organisations called for their immediate release. For further information see http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1442

On 29 April 2016, on the occasion of Zaitouneh’s birthday last year, 31 human rights organisations called for the immediate release of Zaitouneh and her colleagues.

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1573

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1574 (ARABIC)

Syria: 25 killed in Syria courthouse blast

March 15, 2017

syria

A suicide bomber attacked a courthouse in the centre of the Syrian capital on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding others, state media reported.

“The preliminary toll in the terrorist suicide bombing at the old palace of justice building is 25 dead and a number of wounded,” state news agency SANA reported, citing a Damascus police source.

An AFP correspondent at the scene in the Hamidiyeh neighbourhood said security forces had cordoned off the area and roads leading to it were blocked as ambulances and firefighters rushed to the building.

The courthouse contains both an Islamic religious tribunal charged with personal matters, and a criminal court.

“We were terrified because the sound of the explosion was enormous,” a lawyer in the building during the attack told AFP.

“We took refuge in the library which is on a higher floor,” the lawyer added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It was a bloody scene.”

A local prosecutor told state television: “The terrorist targeted civilians… during a crowded period.

“The suicide bomber tried to enter and when police tried to prevent him, he rushed inside and blew himself up,” the prosecutor added.

http://en.prothom-alo.com/international/news/142343/25-killed-in-Syria-courthouse-blast

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/15/damascus-suicide-bombing-dozens-killed-syria-reports-say

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-syria-s-bar-association-chief-16-lawyers-killed-in-blast-2355017

http://fr.euronews.com/2017/03/15/double-attentat-suicide-a-damas-au-sixieme-anniversaire-de-la-guerre (FRANCAIS)