Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

KURDISH POLITICAL ACTIVIST AT RISK OF TORTURE

URGENT ACTION

KURDISH POLITICAL ACTIVIST AT RISK OF TORTURE

Kurdish political activist and human rights lawyer, Sabri
Mirza, has been held at an unknown location following his arrest in Qamishly,
northern Syria, on 13 June. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment
and may be a prisoner of conscience detained solely for peacefully expressing
his political views.

Sabri Mirza was arrested and handed over to Political
Security forces on 13 June after the local police department in Qamishly
summoned him, allegedly to discuss lifting his long-standing travel ban. While
detained at the police station, he was allowed to call a friend to bring him
medication for the diabetes and heart disease from which he suffers. Sabri
Mirza phoned his friend again on 15 June around 4am to tell him that the
security forces were taking him to Damascus, the capital, imminently. He has
been held incommunicado at an unknown location since then.

The charges against Sabri Mirza are not known but Amnesty
International believes he may have been targeted due to the senior position he
holds within the unauthorized Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria. According to
sources within the party, Sabri Mirza recently co-authored a statement
addressed to the Syrian authorities declining their request for dialogue with
Kurdish political parties. The statement emphasized that dialogue would only be
possible if the security forces refrained from further violence against
peaceful protesters.

Sabri Mirza, 60 years old, who is married and the father of
nine children, is a prominent human rights lawyer and has regularly provided
legal representation to Kurdish activists targeted by the Syrian authorities.
He has participated in peaceful demonstrations in Qamishly which have taken
place over the past few months. His arrest and detention could be linked to the
current government clampdown on public protests and suspected opposition
figures. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment in detention heighten the
concern for Sabri Mirza’s safety. Sabri Mirza suffers from diabetes and heart
disease and requires monitoring, guaranteed access to medication and must
follow a specific diet. It is not known whether he is provided with the
medication and diet he requires.

 

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

       
Expressing concern that
Sabri Mirza is being detained incommunicado and at unknown location, asking for
information regarding his place of detention, the reason for his arrest and his
legal status, and calling for him to be fully protected from torture and other
ill-treatment, allowed contact with his family and a lawyer of his choice, and
provided with regular medication and any medical attention he requires;

       
Expressing concern that
Sabri Mirza is being detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to
express his political views and noting that, if this is the case, Amnesty
International would consider him a prisoner of conscience and call for his
immediate and unconditional release;

       
Urging 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 to safeguard them from torture and other
ill-treatment.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 JULY 2011 TO:

President

Bashar al-Assad               

Presidential Palace

al-Rashid Street               

Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

Fax: +963 11 332 3410

Salutation: Your Excellency

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. Check with your section
office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

KURDISH POLITICAL ACTIVIST AT RISK OF TORTURE

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Since popular protests calling for political reform in Syria
began to be violently repressed in mid-March, more than 1,000 people, including
children, are believed to have been killed. Many of them appear to have been
killed as a result of the security forces using live ammunition on peaceful
protests or during military operations by the Syrian army in a number of
cities. Thousands of others have been arrested by the Syrian army and security
forces, and hundreds remain detained incommunicado, despite a “general amnesty”
that was issued on 31 May. Please see

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/syria-must-release-all-prisoners-conscience-under-amnesty-2011-06-02

The arrests have targeted people perceived to have organized
or openly supported the 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. Amnesty
International has documented accounts of torture and other ill-treatment
reported by some recently released detainees.

UA: 189/11 Index: MDE 24/027/2011 Issue Date: 17 June 2011