Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Syria – enforced disappearance of Syrian young activist since 14 May 2011

Syria – enforced disappearance of Syrian young activist
since 14 May 2011

18 July 2011

Mr Anas Al Shugri is aged 22 years, from Al-Bayda village in
Banyas, and a third-year university student in economics. Mr Al Shugri was
arrested on 14 May 2011 and there has been no news of him since. The Syrian
authorities deny Mr Al Shugri’s arrest and detention and therefore Alkarama
submitted Mr Al Shugri’s case to the UN Working Group on Enforced or
Involuntary Disappearances on 15 July 2011.

Mr Al Shugri is one of the organizers of the peaceful
demonstrations in the city of Banyas. He is well respected among the
demonstrators in Banyas as one of the first who called for demonstrations in
the city, as well as somebody who led and organized these and ensured they have
remained peaceful. Furthermore, Mr Al Shugri has testified to the human rights
violations perpetrated by the authorities during these protests on Arab and
international media.

In order to refute claims by the official Syrian media about
false witnesses giving wrong information to satellite channels, Mr Al Shugri
did not withhold his real name when reporting on events occurring in Banyas.
Because he is publicly known as an organizer of demonstrations and therefore
seen as a threat by the Syrian regime, the Syrian media have accused him of
being the leader of a terrorist gang and of being involved in smuggling
activities, but have failed to provide any evidence in support of these
accusations.

Sources reported that Mr Al Shugri may have been wanted by
the security services since the raid on Al Bayda on 12 April 2011, where Mr Al
Shugri was born and grew up. Some media reports in fact suggest that the raid
on Al Bayda in particular aimed at arresting Mr Al Shugri. Following the
general raid on Banyas on 7 May 2011, which attempted to suppress the protests
in the city, Mr Al Shugri was eventually arrested on 14 May 2011 by the
Military Intelligence Services in a barn he was hiding between the villages of
Al-Basateen and Al-Murah, both of which are in the direct proximity of Banyas
(approximately 7 km away).

According to our information, the person who informed the
security services about Mr Al Shugri’s hiding place confirmed that Mr Al Shugri
had been arrested by the Military Intelligence Services. Alkarama has also
obtained information that Mr Al Shugri had been taken to the Palestine Branch
Detention Centre in Damascus. However, the Syrian authorities deny Mr Al
Shugri’s arrest and detention.

Because of his leading role in the peaceful demonstrations
in Banyas, Mr Al Shugri has become a symbol of peaceful resistance among the
protestors. Many people are therefore concerned for his physical and mental
integrity. Alkarama requests that Syrian authorities immediately release Mr Al
Shugri and refrain from arbitrary arrests and detention.