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Further information on UA 292/93 (MDE 24/07/93, 26 August) - Syria: fear of torture / legal concern: Hassiba 'Abd al-Rahman (released), Asia Mahmud (released), Khadija Dib, Fadwa Mahmud, Tuhama Ma'ruf, Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari; and new names: Filya 'Abbas,

, N° d'index: MDE 24/010/1993

Hassiba 'Abd al-Rahman and Asia Mahmud were released at the end of November 1993, but there is continued concern that six other women, one with a young baby, remain in detention. Two of the women, Filya 'Abbas and Raghda Hassan, are being held incommunicado, and may be at risk of torture. They were reportedly arrested at the end of November by members of al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, Military Intelligence, in Damascus.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 24/10/93
Distr: UA/SC
2 December 1993
Further information on UA 292/93 (MDE 24/07/93, 26 August 1993) Fear of
torture/legal concern
SYRIA: Hassiba 'Abd al-Rahman (female) (released)
Asia Mahmud (female) (released)
Khadija Dib (female), aged 34, student
Fadwa Mahmud (female), aged 33
Tuhama Ma'ruf (female), aged about 26, medical student
Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari (female), aged 29, with young baby
and new names: Filya 'Abbas (female) (new arrest)
Raghda Hassan (female) (new arrest)
Amnesty International has received information that Hassiba 'Abd al-Rahman
and Asia Mahmud were released at the end of November 1993, but is concerned
that six other women, one with a young baby, remain in detention. The
organization believes the detainees may be prisoners of conscience. It is
further concerned by reports that two of the women, Filya 'Abbas and Raghda
Hassan, are being held incommunicado and may be at risk of torture. Their
current whereabouts are unknown. The two were reportedly arrested at the end
of November by members of al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya, Military Intelligence,
in Damascus.
Khadija Dib, Fadwa Mahmud, Tuhama Ma'ruf and Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari are
currently held in Duma Women's Prison in Damascus and are said to be in the
process of being tried by the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), together
with more than 500 other political detainees and prisoners of conscience facing
charges of membership or links with various unauthorized political parties.
The four are believed to have been interrogated by the SSSC prosecutor, but
Amnesty International does not know if any charges have been brought against
them and whether they have been granted legal assistance.
The four are all being held on suspicion of membership of or having links with
the Party for Communist Action (PCA). Khadija Dib, a student of French literature
and former prisoner of conscience, has been held since March 1992. She had
previously been detained at least twice in connection with the PCA, in 1984
and February 1992. Her husband, Qais Darwish who has been in detention since
1984, is currently being tried by the SSSC, together with more than 250 others
charged with membership or links with the PCA. At least 54 of these defendants
have recently been sentenced to lengthy prison terms ranging from 3 to 15 years.
Fadwa Mahmud, a mother of two children, was also arrested in March 1992,
apparently for having had contact with Khadija Dib. The remaining two detainees,
Tuhama Ma'ruf, and Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari, a former student of English, were
arrested in December 1992 and February 1993 respectively. Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari
had been living in hiding since 1986 when the authorities began to seek her
2
arrest in connection with the PCA. Her brother, Usama 'Ashur al-'Askari, is
among the 250 or so being tried in connection with the PCA. He has been in
detention since 1982. At the time of her recent arrest she was pregnant and
is reported to have given birth in prison in July or August to a baby girl
named Kamilya. Her baby is said to be living with her in prison. Amnesty
International does not know whether she is being given adequate child care
provisons.
Filya 'Abbas and Raghda Hassan are also said to be suspected of having links
with the PCA.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes and airmail letters
either in English or in your own language:
- welcoming the release of Hassiba 'Abd al-Rahman and Asia Mahmud;
- seeking details about the whereabouts of Filya 'Abbas and Raghda Hassan;
- seeking assurances that all six detainees named above are being treated
humanely and are given access to family, lawyers and medical attention, if
necessary;
- expressing concern that the six detainees who continue to be held may be
prisoners of conscience and urging that if that is the case that they should
be released immediately and unconditionally;
- asking for details about the charges and evidence against them as well as
the dates and places of any pending trial procedures;
- seeking details about the conditions of detention of Doha 'Ashur al-'Askari
and her baby Kamilya and urging that pending her release she is given all
necessary child care provisions in accordance with international standards.
APPEALS TO
1) His Excellency
President Hafez al-Assad
Presidential Palace
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Telegrams: President Al-Assad, Damascus, Syria
Telexes: 419160 munjed sy
Salutation: Your Excellency
2) His Excellency
Muhammad Harba
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Damascus, Syria
Telexes: 411018 AFIRS SY
Salutation: Your Excellency
3) His Excellency 'Abdallah Talaba
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Naser Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Telegrams: Justice Minister, Damascus, Syria
Telexes : 411018 AFIRS SY
Salutation: Your Excellency
4) His Excellency Naser Qaddur
3
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Telegrams: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Damascus, Syria
Telexes: 411922 AFIRS SY
Salutation: Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO: diplomatic representatives of Syria accredited to
your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 12 January 1994.

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