Tag Archives: Syria

Saudi Arabia/Iran/Syria: MENA: Participants at Gulf and Neighbouring Platform call for immediate release of all detained human rights defenders in the Middle East

January 24, 2018

On 22 January 2018, partners of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) called for the release of all detained human rights defenders in the Middle East. At the event, hosted in Beirut by GCHR and Media Association for Peace (MAP), human rights defenders were joined by Michel Forst, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, and representatives of Front Line Defenders, FIDH, CIVICUS and Amnesty International to make the public call to free their colleagues.

Host Khalid Ibrahim, GCHR’s Executive Director, mentioned some of the many human rights defenders jailed across the region, including GCHR’s two co-founders Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain, and GCHR Advisory Board member Ahmed Mansoor, jailed in the United Arab Emirates since March 2017. He noted that just as GCHR was being founded, Al-Khawaja was arrested, tortured and jailed in April 2011. He’s serving a life sentence for his peaceful human rights activities. Rajab is also serving a two-year sentence and facing up to 15 years in another trial on 21 February.

Ibrahim also noted other cases from the Gulf region and neighbouring countries, including in Syria of Razan Zaitouneh, Samira Al-Khail, Wa’el Hamadeh, Nazem Hammadi, Khalil Ma’touq and Mohamed Thatha. He mentioned some of the many dozens of human rights defenders jailed in Saudi Arabia, including Dr. Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Issa Al-Nukheifi, Essam Koshak, Walid Abu Al-Khair and Raif Badawi. In Oman, Internet activist Hassan Al-Basham is in jail, and in Kuwait, Sulaiman Bin Jassim was sentenced to seven years. In Iran, there are also many human rights defenders serving long sentences such as Narges Mohammadi, Atena Daemi and Dr. Abdolfattah Soltani. There are many others in Bahrain including Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace.





http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1774 (ARABIC)


Syria/Germany: Syrian torture survivors speak out

December 21, 2017

Image result for human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni

Euronews reporter Hans von der Brelie speaks with Syrian victims of torture who are seeking justice in Germany.

“My wrists were bound together with iron chains,” said the man who calls himself Abu Firas. “They put me onto an iron bar under the ceiling so that my feet were two centimetres above the floor.”

“They hung me on my hands from the ceiling,” Abdul Karim Rihawi told Euronews.“They beat me with an iron stick.”

“My finger felt like it was the size of a football,” said Yazan Awad. “I felt my arms were very long because my shoulders became dislocated (by this torture). I looked and saw my arms far away. “

Sometimes, when emotions run high, Nahla Osman takes her clients for a walk alongside the river Main. Osman was born in Germany to parents from the Syrian city of Aleppo. She helps victims of torture. She and her brother run a law firm in the German city of Rüsselsheim.

She has compiled hundreds of witness reports detailing torture on a massive scale inside Syrian prisons and will file criminal complaints using the principle of universal jurisdiction which Germany enforces.

Next, we headed to an organisation tracking war criminals around the globe: the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights where we met prominent Syrian human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bunni, and Syrian civil rights activist Yazan Awad, both torture survivors.







http://fr.euronews.com/2017/12/21/tortures-en-syrie-ils-reclament-justice-en-allemagne (FRANCAIS)

http://arabic.euronews.com/2017/12/21/syria-torture-victims-seek-justice-in-european-courts (ARABIC)

https://www.twreporter.org/a/bloody-syria-human-right-lawyer (CHINESE)

Syria: Razan Zaitouneh missing for four years

December 9, 2017


Today, 9 December 2017, marks four years since the disappearance of lawyer Razan Zaitouneh. Together with her husband and two colleagues, Razan Zaitouneh disappeared on 9 December 2013 in Douma, after a group of armed men stormed the office of the Violations Documentation Center. Since then, no one has heard from them.

Many organizations, Lawyers for Lawyers amongst them, repeatedly called for the release of Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues.

As a prominent human rights lawyer, activist, and journalist, Razan Zaitouneh has dedicated her life to defending political prisoners, documenting crimes against humanity, and helping others free themselves from oppression. Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, Razan Zaitouneh has played a key role in efforts to defend human rights for all and protect independent groups and activists in Syria. She is co-founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria and the Violations Documentation Center, which documents human rights violations in Syria.

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





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

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razan_Zaitouneh (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/2017/12/10/ghouta-4-anni-fa-il-rapimento-di-razan-nessuno-conta-piu-i-morti-della-guerra/3999175/ (ITALIANO)

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://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)

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/1702 (ARABIC)


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.


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.