Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS)

Incommunicado detention of Mr. Saleh Shameya

 21 March 2012

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Saleh Shameya, a prominent lawyer, member of the board and head of the legal department of the National Human Rights Organisation-Syria (NOHR-S) in Idleb. Mr. Shameya has been involved in assisting victims of human rights violations, working on penal reform and strongly denouncing conditions of detention in Syria.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Syria.

Description of the situation:

According to the information received, on March 17, 2012, Mr. Shameya was arrested while he was observing a peaceful assembly in the centre of Idleb. His arrest was carried out by the Syrian Intelligence service (Mukhabarat) while a military operation was led simultaneously against the demonstrators using rockets and heavy artillery. His whereabouts have not been disclosed as of yet and he remains thus in incommunicado custody.

The Observatory is deeply concerned by Mr. Saleh Shameya’s arrest and fears for his physical and psychological integrity, particularly in the current context of widespread resort to acts of torture and ill-treatment in detention centres in Syria. The Observatory calls upon the Syrian authorities to take prompt action in order to disclose his fate and whereabouts and release him immediately as it believes that his arrest merely aimed at sanctioning his human rights activities.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities, urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Saleh Shameya, as well as of all human rights defenders in Syria;

ii. Take prompt action in order to disclose the fate and whereabouts of Mr. Saleh Shameya and unconditionally release him, as his arrest seems to solely aim at impeding him from pursuing his human rights activities;

iii. Ensure in all circumstances that Syrian human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without unjustified hindrances;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular with its Article 1, which provides that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as with Article 12.2 “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic.


· President, His Excellency Bashar al-Assad, Presidential Palace, al Rashid Street, Damascus, Syria Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 3410;
· Minister of Defence, His Excellency General, Ali Habib Mahmud, Ministry of Defence, O mayyad Square, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 223 7842;
· Minister of Justice, His Excellency Mr. Tayseer Qella Awad, Mazeh “Otstrad”, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 666 2460;
· Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Wallid Mu’allim, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic, Fax: +963 11 332 7620;
· Ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to UN in Geneva, 72 rue de Lausanne, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 738 42 75, Email: mission.syria@ties.itu.int;
· Embassy the Syrian Arab Republic in Brussels, 1 avenue F.D. Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 554 19 22; Fax: +32 2 648 14 85.

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of the Syrian Arabic Republic in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, March 21, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29