Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Health concerns for detained Syrian activist: Shibal Ibrahim


Shibal Ibrahim , a member of Syria’s Kurdish minority and a political a ctivist, has been held incommunicado by Syrian security forces since his arrest on 22 September 2011 . He is believed to be in poor health, and is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. H e is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for his activism.

Shibal Ibrahim, aged 35, is a member of the Union of Young Kurds in Syria, a group of Kurdish activists who organize peaceful pro-reform protests in the predominantly Kurdish areas of Syria. He was last seen on 22 September 2011, when a group of men in civilian clothes took him from his family home in the city of Qamishly in north-eastern Syria. A week later, Shibal Ibrahim’s family were informed by a source at the National Hospital in Qamishly that Shibal Ibrahim was brought in by security forces for treatment. He had marks on his body that suggested he had been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The source also told Shibal Ibrahim’s family that after he had been treated, he was taken to the Air Force Intelligence branch in Qamishly. Shibal Ibrahim’s family then approached the Air Force Intelligence branch in Qamishly to ask where he was. They were told he had been moved to the Air Force Intelligence branch in Damascus.

As far as Amnesty International is aware, no charges have been brought against Shibal Ibrahim, but officials at the branch showed the family video footage of Shibal Ibrahim at a peaceful pro-reform protest and claimed that he was arrested because of his participation in this and other protests. Amnesty International therefore considers him a prisoner of conscience detained solely for legitimately exercising his rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Amnesty International is further concerned about Shibal Ibrahim’s safety as he suffers from a chronic kidney infection and must take antibiotics on a daily basis. A detainee who was recently released from the Air Force Intelligence branch in Damascus informed Shibal Ibrahim’s family that he is in poor health, and that he has repeatedly asked for medication but has not been given any since his arrest.

Please write immediately in or your own language:

Expressing concern that Shibal Ibrahim has been held incommunicado since September 2011 and that he is at risk of torture or other ill-treatment;

Calling on the authorities to ensure that he has immediate and regular access to all necessary medical care; ; 

Calling for Shibal Ibrahim to be immediately and unconditionally released as he is a prisoner of conscience held solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.;

Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Defence
General Dawood RajihaMinistry of Defence
Omayyad Square
Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 666 2460
Salutation: Your Excellency
And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Walid al-Mu’allim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 625 12 / 13

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.




Additional Information

Pro-reform demonstrations began in Syria in February 2011 and evolved into mass protests in mid-March. The protests have been largely peaceful, yet the Syrian authorities have responded in the most brutal manner in their efforts to suppress them. Amnesty International has obtained the names of more than 4,600 people reported to have died or been killed during or in connection with the protests since mid-March. Many are believed to have been shot by security forces using live ammunition while participating in peaceful protests or attending funerals of people killed in earlier protests. Members of the security forces have also been killed, some by defecting members of the army who have taken up arms against the government.

Thousands of people have been arrested, with many held incommunicado at unknown locations at which torture and other ill-treatment are reported to be rife. Over 235 people are reported to have died in custody in highly suspicious circumstances since 1 April 2011.

The Syrian state has multiple security and intelligence agencies in addition to even more opaque groups, often armed but not necessarily uniformed, who also carry out abductions, killings and other abuses in apparent coordination with, or at least approval of, state officials. Amnesty International has also received reports of armed individuals threatening, abusing and, in some cases, killing people perceived to be linked to or supportive of the state.

Shibal Ibrahim is married and has three young children, aged one, six and nine years old. According to former detainees who are in contact with his family, following his arrest and detention at the Air Force Intelligence branch in Qamishly, Shibal Ibrahim was then moved to the Air Force Intelligence branch in Deir al-Zour for a period of around two days. He was then transferred to the Air Force branch at Mezzeh military airport in Damascus where he reportedly spent around 15 days. He was finally taken to the Air Force Intelligence branch in Damascus on 20 October 2011.

Kurds comprise up to 10 per cent of the population of Syria and reside mostly around the city of Aleppo in the north of the country and the al-Jazeera region in the north-east. These predominantly Kurdish areas lag behind the rest of the country in terms of social and economic indicators. Kurds are subjected to identity-based discrimination, including restrictions on the use of their language in schools and on Kurdish cultural activities, such as bans on producing and circulating Kurdish music. Such discrimination violates Article 2 (on the prohibition of discrimination) and 27 (on the rights of minorities) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a state party. In its Concluding Observations on Syria’s third periodic report in 2005, the UN Human Rights Committee called on the Syrian authorities to ensure all members of the Kurdish minority enjoy effective protection against discrimination and are able to enjoy their own culture and use their own language, in accordance with article 27 of the Covenant.

Name: Shibal Ibrahim
Gender m/f: male