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:: Issues > Human Rights
An Urgent Appeal to the Secretary General Of the League of Arab States
For more than 25 years, hundreds of exiled Syrian families have been living in Iraq due to being sought out by the Syrian Security for their opposing political views towards the Syrian regime. When the American forces began its attack on Iraq in the spring of 2003, many Syrian families crowded near the Syrian-Iraqi borders hoping that the Syrian Authorities would allow them a peaceful r
Tuesday, January 16,2007 00:00
by SHRQ

For more than 25 years, hundreds of exiled Syrian families have been living in Iraq due to being sought out by the Syrian Security for their opposing political views towards the Syrian regime.

When the American forces began its attack on Iraq in the spring of 2003, many Syrian families crowded near the Syrian-Iraqi borders hoping that the Syrian Authorities would allow them a peaceful return to their country. The Syrian Authorities however only allowed a small group in. In fact, the Syrian intelligence authorities took the opportunity to abduct certain individuals who had arrived at the borders in order to guarantee safety for their families against the American invasion. Since then, some of them have disappeared in Syrian prisons, whilst others were tried at court. Those who were members or supporters of Islamic movements were sentenced to death according to law 49/1980, then had their sentences reduced to 12 years in prison. Those belonging to nationalistic groups were sentenced to periods of between 5-10 years imprisonment, and indeed many of them are still being tried at the SSSC, a court lacking in fair and just procedures. More than 200 Syrian citizens were forced to return to Syria and were subsequently arrested, with the exception of women, children and a small number of men who were shortly released afterwards. The majority of men however have been languishing in prison for the past three years and a half.

On the other hand, exiled Syrians in Iraq have become an easy target for the Interior Iraqi Ministry, the occupying American forces and armed Militias that the numbers of those detained have exceeded 80, and more than 20 have perished. The situation has indeed worsened and inflated, and most recently, many   Syrians have become hostages within their own homes. The retired General Ahmed Abdul Qader Tirmanini and some of his colleagues were abducted from their homes on 21/12/2006, only to be found dead and mutilated two days later in a bin. Three days ago, the lawyer Mohammed Bakoor and three of his colleagues were also arrested. Mr. Bakoor was released yesterday evening but his colleagues remain imprisoned and in danger as the Iraqi Police destroyed documents that proved their refugee status which had been provided to them by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Another danger development applicable to all Syrians in Iraq is that the Iraqi Interior Ministry has refused to renew the stay permits of exiled Syrians who have been living continuously for more than 25 years, which gives the impression that their presence in Iraq is illegal, considering they have no alternatives to live elsewhere.

The Syrian Human Rights Committee (SHRC) appeals you to immediately intervene and use your good offices to find a solution to this crisis that exiled Syrians in Iraq have to face in the land of Iraq, before it is too late. They should either be allowed to return peacefully and securely to their country, or be provided a safe alternative home through guaranteeing their safety in Iraq by not being vulnerable to harassment or abduction.

Walid Saffour

President of the Syrian Human Rights Committee

 


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