Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

DETAINED SYRIAN WRITER AT RISK OF TORTURE

URGENT ACTION

Kurdish writer and pro-reform activist, Hussein ‘Essou, aged
59, has been held incommunicado since his arrest in al-Hasakah, north-eastern
Syria, on 3 September 2011. He suffers from a heart condition and may not be
receiving the regular medication he requires. He is at risk of torture and
other ill-treatment.

A person who said he was a member of Air Force Intelligence
telephoned Hussein ‘Essou in the early evening of 2 September, telling him they
were waiting for him at his home and requesting him to return there
immediately. He said he was busy and waited until 1am to go home after spending
the evening with friends. He was arrested at around 2am on 3 September by
security forces believed to be members of Air Force Intelligence.

When friends asked for him at the Air Force Intelligence
branch in al-Hasakah, officers accepted the medication his friends had brought
for him but did not permit them to see him. A contact has told Amnesty
International that he has since been moved to the Air Force Intelligence branch
in Damascus but Amnesty International has been unable to confirm this and his
current whereabouts are therefore uncertain. Amnesty International is
particularly concerned about his well-being as it is unclear whether he is
receiving his regular medication, which he requires for treatment of a heart
condition.

Hussein ‘Essou is a prominent writer and pro-reform
activist. He has publicly declared his support for the popular protests and
attended demonstrations in al-Hasakah and provided information to international
media outlets. Although the Syrian authorities have not given any indication
about the reasons for his arrest, Amnesty International believes that he may be
a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the legitimate exercise of his
rights to freedom of expression and assembly. 

Please write immediately in Arabic, English, French or your
own language:

n        Expressing
concern that Hussein ‘Essou is being detained incommunicado and at an 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;

n        Expressing
concern that Hussein ‘Essou may be 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;

n        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 27 OCTOBER 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. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:

Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email
Email address Salutation Salutation       

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

 

URGENT ACTION

DETAINED SYRIAN WRITER AT RISK OF TORTURE

Additional Information

Since popular protests calling for political reform in Syria
began to be violently repressed in mid-March, Amnesty International has
compiled the names of more than 2,120 people, including children, who are
believed to have been killed. Amnesty International has received numerous
accounts of detainees being tortured or otherwise ill-treated as well as
reports of at least 95 deaths in custody since April 2011, in many cases as an
apparent result of such abuses. For further information, please see Syria:
Deadly Detention: Deaths in custody amid popular protest in Syria (Index: MDE
24/035/2011).

Syrian security forces 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. 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.

Hussein ‘Essou’s writings have focused on political issues
and he has regularly criticized the Syrian authorities. He issued a statement
condemning the arrest of leading opposition figure Nawaf al Bashir in late
July. He has also composed poetry.

 

Name: Hussein ‘Essou

Gender m/f: male

East Mediterranean Team

Amnesty International, International Secretariat

Peter Benenson House, 1 Easton Street

London WC1X 0DW

United Kingdom

E-mail: Eastmed@amnesty.org

Tel:       +44 (0)20
7413 5500

Fax:      +44 (0)20
7413 5719