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Syria: Kurdish lawyer detained, risks torture

, Index number: MDE 24/038/2009

Kurdish lawyer Mustafa Ismail was detained on 12 December 2009 and has been held incommunicado since then. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

UA: 342/09 Index: MDE 24/038/2009 Syria Date: 21 December 2009
URGENT ACTION
KURDISH LAWYER DETAINED, RISKS TORTURE
Kurdish lawyer Mustafa Ismail was detained on 12 December, and has been held
incommunicado since then. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Mustafa Ismail, who writes about the treatment of Kurds in Syria and Turkey for a number of foreign-based websites,
was detained when he went to the Air Force Security Branch in the northern city of Aleppo, in response to an order
from the local security office in his home town of Ain Arab. His family went to the same Air Force Security Branch
on 17 December to find out what had happened to him, but they were told that he was not there and they were
ordered to leave.
The day before he was detained Mustafa Ismail had posted an article on the London-based Levant News website, in
which he said he had been ordered to go to the Air Force Security Branch in Aleppo, commenting that he could
easily get into the Guinness Book of Records” because of the number of times that he had been summoned to
report to security offices since 2000.
He had recently been questioned by officials of several different security services: the Political Security Branch on 3
October, the Military Security Branch on 5 October and the State Security Branch on 7 and 8 November. He told
colleagues that the questioning on these occasions had focused on his media work, especially phone interviews he
had given to a European-based Kurdish satellite TV station, Roj TV.
As yet, the Syrian authorities have not acknowledged that he is in detention or provided any explanation, prompting
feaRS that he could be subject to torture or other ill-treatment.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English, French or your own language:
Expressing concern that Mustafa Ismail has been held incommunicado at an unknown location since 12
December, putting him at risk of torture and other ill-treatment;
Calling on the authorities to ensure that he is not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, and reminding them that Syria
is a state party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment;
Urging them to allow him, immediately, visits from his family, a lawyer of his choosing, and any medical
attention he may require;
Calling on them to release Mustafa Ismail unless he is to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and
tried promptly in proceedings which meet international fair trial standards.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 7 JANUARY 2010 TO:
President
Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Interior
Major Sa’id Mohamed Samour
Ministry of Interior
‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 222 3428
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Walid al-Muallim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
al-Rashid Street
Damascus
Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 7620
Salutation: Your Excellency
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
date.
UA: 342/09 Index: MDE 24/038/2009 Syria Date: 21 December 2009
URGENT ACTION
KURDISH LAWYER DETAINED, RISKS TORTURE
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Syria's Emergency Law, in place since 1963, has allowed the establishment of multiple security agencies with
sweeping powers to arrest and detain anyone perceived as opposing the government. Torture and other ill-treatment
are widespread in Syria's detention and interrogation centres. In 2009, at least seven people are reported to have
died in custody as a result of abuse. The authorities have taken no action to investigate these allegations.
"Confessions" extracted under duress are systematically used as evidence in Syrian courts, and defendants' claims
that they have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated are almost never investigated.
UA: 342/09 Index: MDE 24/038/2009 Issue Date: 21 December 2009

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