Tag Archives: Syria

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

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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)

Syria: Razan Zaitouneh missing for three years

December 9, 2016

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Since human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband and two colleagues were abducted on 9 December 2013, no one has heard of them. Today, exactly three years after their disappearance, fifty-six organizations, L4L amongst them, called for their immediate release.

Razan Zeitouneh, Wa’el Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hammadi disappeared in Douma, after group of armed men stormed into the office of the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) on 9 December 2013.

Razan Zaitouneh has been one of the key lawyers defending political prisoners in Syria since 2001. 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. Razan Zeitouneh is co-founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC) and the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which documents human rights violations in Syria. As a result of her work, she had been threatened by both the Syrian government and armed opposition groups in Douma several months before her abduction.

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/12098/syria-razan-zaitouneh-missing-for-three-years/

http://www.lrwc.org/syria-ngos-renew-call-for-release-of-douma-4-human-rights-activists-missing-for-three-years-joint-statement/

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1442

http://www.idhae.org/observatoire-fr-page4.1.syr161010.htm (FRANCAIS)

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1446 (ARABIC)

Syria: Assyrian Lawyer Detained By Kurds in Syria

November 17, 2016

Assyrian lawyer Riyad Lahdo Ado from al-Malikiyah in Syria’s northeast Hasakeh province was kept in Kurdish custody for 24 hours before he was released on Tuesday November 15.

The reason for the interrogation and interrogation is because an old land dispute with two Kurdish lawyers, where he had been successful in Syrian courts, according to Assyria TV.

The intelligence branch of the self proclaimed Kurdish PYD authority, titled Fer’ al-ma’lumat al-amni (Security Information Branch), called Mr. Ado to its headquarters in the oil rich town of Rmelan last Monday, where he immediately was arrested and interrogated, the Assyria TV report claimed.

He was only released on Tuesday afternoon because of heavy pressure from the local Assyrian community.

Ado told Assyria TV that this was a Kurdish power demonstration and abuse of rule.

http://www.aina.org/news/20161117120629.htm

Syria: uman Rights Organizations Renew Calls for Release of Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq | Joint Letter

October 4, 2016

Syria should immediately release the Human Rights LawyerKhalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha, 31 human rights organizations said today, on the fourth anniversary of their enforced disappearance.

On October 2, 2012, the two men are believed to have been arrested at a government-operated checkpoint on their way from Ma’touq’s home in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya to his office in Damascus. 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.

Despite these denials, 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.

Detention centers operated by the Syrian government’s security forces are appalling, with rampant torture and inhumane conditions, in which many thousands of detainees have died since 2011. Former detainees at Branch 235, where Ma’touq was reported to have been seen in 2015, said that they were held in poor conditions in crowded cells with inadequate access to food, water and hygienic facilities. One detainee, who cannot be identified for security reasons, told that approximately five men from his cell died each day as a consequence of torture or disease.

The organizations expressed grave concern that being held in such conditions may place Ma’touq’s life at risk. Ma’touq suffers from advanced lung disease, for which he requires appropriate medication and medical care, but which it is feared he has not received according to some local reports.

Syria: Human Rights Organizations Renew Calls for Release of Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq | Joint Letter

http://www.gc4hr.org/news/view/1386

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/urgent-interventions/syrian-arab-republic/2016/10/d23976/

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: Call for release of ‘Douma Four’ on birthday of Razan Zaitouneh

April 29, 2016

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To mark the birthday of missing human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, today a large amount of organizations, including L4L,called for her immediate release, as well as that of her colleagues Samira Khalil, Nazem Hamadi and Wa’el Hamada. The four, also known as the ‘Douma Four’, were abducted on 9 December 2013 in Douma. Since then, no one has heard of them.

Razan Zeitouneh is a lawyer who mostly represented political prisoners, and won several awards for her human rights work. She is, even though she had to go into hiding due to threats in 2011, one of the few internationally known human rights lawyers who have remained in Syria since the uprising in March 2011.

Razan Zeitouneh is co-founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC) and the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which documents all human rights violations in Syria. Furthermore, she is co-founder of the ‘local development and small projects support office’ (LDSPS), which provices basic needs and essential services and support to medical and development centres in Syria.

Syria Call for release of ‘Douma Four’ on birthday of Razan Zaitouneh

Syria: Joint Appeal to Help Free Syrian Human Rights Defender Razan Zaitouneh and Her Colleagues on Her Birthday | Letter

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/statement-report/syria-joint-appeal-help-free-syrian-human-rights-defender-razan-zaitouneh-and-her

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-dooley/today-is-razan-zaitounehs_b_9803264.html