• October 21, 2010

Syria: Syrian Human Rights Defender Reappears in Adra Prison 40 Days after Arrest

Syria: Syrian Human Rights Defender Reappears in Adra Prison 40 Days after Arrest

 On 23 August 2010, on his way back to Germany from Syrian with his wife and three of his children, Ismail Abdi, a human rights defender of both Syrian and German nationalities, was taken in for questioning at passport control desks by border police and State Security agents. He was immediately arrested and his family left in the dark.

Alkarama informed the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances of Mr Abdi’s case on 30 September 2010, requesting clarification of Mr Abdi’s situation from the Syrian Authorities.

Late last week, Mr Abdi’s family in Germany heard through informal channels that their father was alive and that he had been detained for nearly 40 days at the State Security building in Damascus. Much of this time was spent in solitary confinement and it became clear that he had recently been transferred to Adra prison where he has been interrogated about emails he wrote regarding the human rights situation in Syria. According to sources, he is set to make a court appearance.

The fact that both the German and Syrian authorities have failed to confirm this information to the family, and that Ismail Abdi could face a sentence of up to 10 years leaves his family in anguish awaiting news and confirmation. "My two sisters, aged 7 and 9, are really suffering since they saw their father taken away right before their eyes," Abdi’s daughter, Fara, stated.

Ismail Abdi is a member of the board of trustees of the Committees for the defense of democracy freedoms and human rights in Syria (CDDFHRS) and has published numerous articles about the human rights situation in Syria. Recently, in February 2010, his organisation published a list of some 600 names of people tortured and killed in Syrian prisons between 2008 and 2010.[1]

Ismail Abdi’s arrest comes in the context of a number of other arrests and disappearances of human rights activists – such as Abdul Hafez Abdulrahman, disappeared on 2 March 2010 and Mr Haitham Al-Maleh, disappeared on 14 October 2009. Alkarama fears that such patterns of disappearance, unfair trials and harassment are aimed at repressing the groups working to defend the human rights of all Syrians.

Alkarama will submit the case of Ismail Abdi to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, requesting that the working group intervene with the Syrian authorities.

Click here to watch a short video report in German about Ismail Abdi created thanks to NDR.de: