Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Fears for missing Syrian man: Hussam Ahmed al-Nabulsi


Syrian farmer Hussam Ahmed al-Nabulsi was arrested by members of the Syrian Military Intelligence on his way to work in the coastal town of Banias, on 31 December 2011. He has been held incommunicado at an unknown location since then . There are grave concerns that he is being subjected to torture and other ill-treatment .

Hussam al-Nabulsi was reportedly arrested by Syrian Military Intelligence officers on 31 December 2011, after he and another man riding with him on a motorbike were shot at. An eyewitness said Hussam al-Nabulsi appeared to be bleeding from the legs and was unable to run away; the other man was not seen to move and his subsequent fate is unknown. According to reports, Hussam al-Nabulsi was beaten and taken away by security forces

Video Showing The Hussam al-Nabulsi being tortured



Hussam al-Nabulsi’s family has not been given any information about his whereabouts or wellbeing, despite having inquired about him through numerous channels, including the authorities. He is not thought to have been charged with any offence. A family member outside Syria said Hussam al-Nabulsi had not attended any of the pro-reform demonstrations, but he had given food and money to families who had suffered as a result of the unrest. He is at grave risk of torture or other ill-treatment, indicated in a video added to the YouTube website, showing him with what appears to be blood and severe bruising and swelling on his face, and an injury to his left arm, while almost unable to speak. An independent forensic expert who viewed the video believes the type and distribution of injuries indicates that they are the result of an assault – a beating about the head and face. The date and source of this video are unknown, but a relative of Hussam al-Nabulsi based abroad confirmed to the organization that it was Hussam al-Nabulsi in the video. A former detainee also told the organization that he believes the background is a room in the Military Intelligence branch in Tartus, south of Banias, where he, too, was detained and subjected to torture. The relative abroad also said that another person claims to have seen Hussam al-Nabulsi in this location around ten days ago, around 20 January 2012.

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

Urging the Syrian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of Hussam al-Nabulsi, and ensure that he is provided with all necessary medical care, is protected from torture or other ill-treatment and is given immediate access to his family and lawyer;
Asking for clarification of Hussam al-Nabulsi’s legal status, and calling on the authorities to release him immediately, if he is not to be charged with an internationally recognizable criminal offence and tried according to international fair trial standards.

Calling on the Syrian authorities to promptly set up an independent and impartial investigation into the apparent torture or other ill-treatment of Hussam al-Nabulsi, as shown in the video and to bring anyone found responsible for abuses to justice.

Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace, al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410 (keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Interior
His Excellency Major General Mohamad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Ministry of Interior, ‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 211 9578 (keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Walid al-Mu’allim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 625 3(keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency

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Additional Information

According to the above mentioned eyewitness, four cars belonging to Syrian Military Intelligence stopped behind Hussam al-Nabulsi and the other man while they were riding a motorbike. Between 16-20 armed Military Intelligence officials got out and intelligence officials called to them to stop. The person described by the witness to have been the leader of the group ordered the other officials to fire at the two men, but this appeared to cause a disagreement as at least one person stated they were not willing to shoot. The leader then proceeded to shoot at the two men himself. The witness said after this, an internal struggle broke out between the members of the Military Intelligence, more shots were fired and at least five members of the group were injured. Then a Military Intelligence Officer shot at the men. The witness said he saw Hussam al-Nabulsi try to run away, but he appeared to be bleeding from the legs. The other man was not seen to move after being shot. Shortly after this, the witness fled the scene but claims that local residents later said they saw Hussam al-Nabulsi being beaten and taken away by security forces.

Shortly after this, a further six intelligence cars arrived, along with ambulances. While the witness had left the scene at this point, he stressed that the residents told him that Hussam al-Nabulsi was not taken away in an ambulance, but in one of the cars.

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 5,000 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 250 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.

Hussam al-Nabulsi is a father of seven.

Name: Hussam Ahmed al-Nabulsi
Gender m/f: male