Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi Suleymanþ

Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against Mr.
Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman

SYR 005 / 0411 / OBS 071

Arbitrary detention / Judicial harassment

Syria

April 29, 2011

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights
(FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent
intervention in the following situation in Syria.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about
the arbitrary detention and the judicial harassment against Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi
Suleyman, member of the board of directors of the Arab Organisation for Human
Rights in Syria (AOHR-S) and former President of the same organisation.

According to the information received, on April 27, 2011,
Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi appeared before the Military Public Prosecutor of Homs
after having been summoned. There, he was questioned by the military prosecutor
and formally charged of "inciting riots" and
"vandalism"[1]. He was then taken to the Central Prison of Homs where
he is currently detained.

Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman was allegedly denounced by two
demonstrators arrested approximately two weeks ago in Homs, by officers from
the Intelligence and Security services. They declared that Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi
Suleyman was financially supporting the protest movements and supplying
weapons. Later, they retracted their declarations.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the
arbitrary detention of Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman and the judicial harassment
he is facing which seem to merely aim at sanctioning his human rights
activities.

The Observatory further calls upon the Syrian authorities to
take prompt action in order to immediately and unconditionally drop the charges
against him as they are baseless and release him, as well as all human rights
defenders presently detained in the country. This arbitrary arrest illustrates
once more the extreme harassment faced by human rights defenders in a context
of increasing violent crackdown against peaceful protesters by army and
security forces in Syria since March 16, 2011.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and
psychological integrity of Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman;

ii. Drop the charges pending against Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi
Suleyman as they are arbitrary ;

iii. Ensure the immediate and unconditionally release of Mr.
Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman since his detention is arbitrary as it only aims at
sanctioning his human rights activities;

iv. Put an end to any acts of harassment, including at the
judicial level, against Mr. Rasim Al-Atassi Suleyman and more generally against
all human rights defenders in Syria;

v. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations
on December 9, 1998, especially:

– its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right,
individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the
protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the
national and international levels”,

– its Article 6 (b) and (c), which states that “Everyone has
the right, individually and in association with others […] as provided for in
human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish,
impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human
rights and fundamental freedoms and […] to study, discuss, form and hold
opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights
and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to
draw public attention to those matters”.

– and its Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall
take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent
authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against
any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination,
pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her
legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

vi.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards
and international instruments ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic.

Addresses:

·President, His Excellency Bashar al-Assad, Presidential
Palace, al Rashid Street, Damascus, Syria Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 3410

·Minister of Defence, His Excellency General, Ali Habib
Mahmud, Ministry of Defence, O mayyad Square, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic,
Fax: +963 11 223 7842

·Minister of Justice, His Excellency Mr. Tayzeer Qala Awwad,
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 666 2460

·Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Wallid
Mu’allim, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab
Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 7620

·Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Mission of the Syrian
Arab Republic to UN in Geneva, 72 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland,
Fax: +41 22 738 42 75, Email: mission.syria@ties.itu.in

·Embassy the Syrian Arab Republic in Brussels, 1 avenue F.D.
Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 554 19 22; Fax: +32 2 648 14 85

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of
the Syrian Arabic Republic in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, April 29, 2011

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code
of this appeal in your reply.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

    * E-mail:
Appeals@fidh-omct.org

    * Tel and fax FIDH
+ 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

    * Tel and fax OMCT
+ 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29