Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)




Syrian brothers, ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammada and Wa’el Hammada,
have been detained incommunicado at an unknown location since 30 April and 12
May respectively. They are at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Political activist Wa’el Hammada, aged 35, and his wife,
Razan Zaitouneh, a leading human rights activist, went into hiding in April.
They feared being arrested because of their peaceful activities in relation to
the current popular protests calling for political reform.

On 30 April, ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammada, a 20-year old
accountant student, went to the couple’s flat to get them some clothes. Armed
men from one of Syria’s security and intelligence agencies arrived a few
minutes after his arrival and forced ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammada to phone his
brother to ask him to come to the flat. Wa’el Hammada did not go however, as he
correctly guessed it was a trap. The armed officials then arrested ‘Abd
al-Rahman Hammada although, according to the family, he has not been involved
in the protests. Twelve days later Wa’el Hammada was arrested at his workplace.

Both men continue to be detained. They are held
incommunicado and their whereabouts are unknown; the Syrian authorities have
not said where they are being held. They are at high risk of torture; torture
of detainees is routine and systematic in Syria and committed with impunity.
Razan Zaitouneh told Amnesty International, “We are constantly distressed as we
have not heard anything about my husband or his brother since their arrests.”

Amnesty International believes that both men are prisoners
of conscience, with Wa’el Hammada detained solely for legitimately exercising
his rights to freedom of expression and association and ‘Abd al-Rahman Hammada
apparently detained solely on account of his family relationship with Wa’el

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Arabic, English, French or your
own language:

for the immediate and unconditional release of Wa’el Hammada and ‘Abd al-Rahman
Hammada who Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience;

concern that they have been held incommunicado at unknown locations since 30
April and 12 May respectively, and calling for them to be fully protected
against possible torture or other ill-treatment;

the Syrian authorities to take immediate steps to name and disclose the
whereabouts of all political detainees and to give them immediate access to
lawyers of their choosing and their families and any medical treatment they
need, and to safeguard them from torture or other ill-treatment.



Bashar al-Assad               

Presidential Palace

al-Rashid Street               

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic               

Fax: +963 11 332 3410

Salutation: Your Excellency



Minister of Interior

Major General Mohamed Ibrahim al-Sha’aar     

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-Mu’allim            

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

al-Rashid Street

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic               

Fax: +963 11 214 6251

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.





The Syrian army and security forces have been carrying out
mass arrests since mid-March, when popular protests called for political reform
and increasingly for the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, to step down. The
arrests particularly took place in the cities and towns that witnessed the
height of popular protests. In the coastal city of Banias for example, all
males above the age of 15 were rounded up. The arrests have also targeted
people perceived to have organized or openly supported those protests, whether
orally in public gatherings, in the media, on the internet or elsewhere. They
include political and human rights activists, mosque imams and
journalists.  These mass arrests have
forced a number of political and human rights activists to go into hiding.

Amnesty International believes that many of those detained
are likely to be prisoners of conscience, held merely for exercising their
rights to freedom of expression and association by peacefully supporting or
taking part in protests. For more information on the mass arrests, see the
recent Urgent Action: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE24/019/2011/en.

Despite the fear of arrest Razan Zaitouneh described the
arrest of her brother-in-aw to Amnesty International as follows:

“‘Abd al-Rahman Hammada, went to our flat on 30 April to get
us some clothes as we were already in hiding. Minutes after his arrival armed
men showed up. ‘Abd al-Rahman immediately called my husband, Wa’el, and told
him that armed men are surrounding the building and on the roof. He said that
they are hammering at the door and threatening to break it if he does not allow
them in. ‘Abd al-Rahman was trapped there for a whole hour and only opened the
door, according to eye witnesses, after the armed men apparently told him that
they would do him no harm.  We later
learned that once ‘Abd al-Rahman opened the door, the armed men broke in
violently and turned the flat upside down!

‘Abd al-Rahman then called Wa’el and asked him to come to
the flat as he needs money. Wa’el replied that the money is in the drawer. ‘Abd
al-Rahman then said that that is not enough. We knew that it was a trap as we
left plenty of money in the flat. So Wa’el immediately asked his brother: Are
you ok? What is happening? At that point the phone turned off and we never
heard from ‘Abd al-Rahman after that.

Since the beginning of the unrest, we have been living in
constant fear of arrest and intolerable agony over the safety of those
arrested. So far thousands have been detained.”

UA: 149/11 Index: MDE 24/020/2011 Issue Date: 23 May 2011