Student activist, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed, a member of Syria’s Kurdish minority, has not been seen since 3 March. There are fears he may have been arrested by the security forces. If so, with the security forces denying he is in their custody, he has been subjected to enforced disappearance. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is a student at the University of Aleppo. He was last seen when he left the apartment he shares with fellow students around on 3 March. A contact told Amnesty International that after he left the apartment, heavily armed but unidentified security officials raided it, taking Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s laptop. Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed was previously arrested and detained for about 10 days in relation to his involvement in student activism and focus on Kurdish rights. He recently changed apartments in fear of another arrest.
On 5 March, Military Security officials visited Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s family in Qamishli, north-eastern Syria. The men enquired about Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s activities, his age, and education. When the family asked about the whereabouts of their son, the men denied that he was in their custody and insisted that their enquiry was routine. His family has received no information concerning his fate or whereabouts since 3 March but believes the available information points to his having been arrested.
If, Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is now detained by security forces, the authorities should immediately inform his family of his whereabouts, permit him to make contact with them, and ensure that he has access to a lawyer and necessary medical care. He should be released unless he is charged with a recognizable criminal offence and tried in compliance with international fair trial standards. If he is held for his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly then Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience and would call for his immediate and unconditional release.
Please write immediately in Arabic or your own language:
Express concern that Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed has not been seen since 3 March in circumstances that indicate he was taken into custody by Syrian security forces;
Emphasise that concealing the fate or whereabouts of a detained person is prohibited under international law, and call on the Syrian authorities to urgently clarify Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed’s current whereabouts;
Call on them to allow him to make contact with his family, to ensure that he has prompt access to a lawyer and medical care, and to ensure that he is not subjected to any torture or other ill-treatment;
State that if Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed is held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and assembly, he should be released immediately and unconditionally. Otherwise, he should be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 27 APRIL 2012 TO :
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 625 12 / 13 Salutation: Your Excellency
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Disappearance of Syrian Kurd student activist
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 7,000 people reported to have died or been killed during or in connection with the protests since mid-March 2011. 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 280 people are reported to have died in custody in highly suspicious circumstances since 1 April 2011. Others have been subjected to enforced disappearance – that is, taken into custody or in any other way deprived of liberty by the security forces or others acting with the state’s authorization, support or acquiescence, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the detention or by the concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the person concerned, placing them outside the protection of the law. Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law.
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.
Since April 2011, Amnesty International has documented systematic and widespread human rights violations which amount to crimes against humanity, and has called for the situation in Syria to be referred to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
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: Jaqar Khoen Mullah Ahmed
Gender m/f: male