Urgent Interventions

Syria: Arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr Mohamed Ra'doun


SYR 001 / 0505 / OBS 035
Arbitrary arrest and detention

May 26, 2005

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

Brief description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by several human rights organisations of the arrest of Mr. Mohamed Ra'doun, lawyer and Chairperson of the Arab Organization for Human Rights - Syria branch (AOHRS).
According to the information received, on May 22, 2005, the Syrian security forces attacked Mr. Ra'doun’s office in Latakiya, arrested him, and took him to a security office. He was later taken to Damascus and allegedly referred to the Prosecutor of the State Security Court without access to legal counsel. The Syrian authorities have not disclosed the reasons motivating Ra'doun’s detention, nor have they presented the lawyer any charge.
Mr. Ra'doun established the Syrian branch of AOHR in November 29, 2003, and has engaged himself in particular in fighting corruption and defending prisoners of opinion. Due to his human rights activities, Mr. Ra'doun has been prevented to participate in several international meetings, including the Arab Reform Forum that took place on March 12th, 2004 in Alexandria, Egypt.
The Observatory believes Mr. Ra'doun’s arrest may be related to recent press releases and statements issued by AOHRS on the human rights situation in Syria, denouncing several violations and restrictions of the fundamental liberties in the country, and in particular Mr. Ra'doun’s declarations to mass media on these violations. This arrest takes place in the framework of a wider series of arrests that have occurred in Syria during the last weeks.
Action requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities, urging them to:

i. release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Mohamed Ra'doun, as his detention is arbitrary for it aims at curtailing the exercise of his human rights activities hence his freedom of expression;

ii. guarantee his physical and psychological integrity as well as his procedural rights including the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the nature and cause of the charge against him and the right to communicate with counsel of his own choosing (Art. 14 ICCPR, ratified by the Syrian Arab Republic in April 1969);

iii. put an end to all acts of harassment against human rights defenders in the country in conformity with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations’ General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”; and article 6 which guarantees the right “(b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms; (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to these matters";

iv. more generally, conform with the provisions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and with all other international human rights instruments binding Syria.

  • His Excellency President Bashar Al-Assad, President of the Republic, Presidential Palace, Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: + 963 11 332 3410

  • His Excellency General Ghazi Kanaan, Minister of the Interior, Ministry of Interior Merjeh Circle, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: + 963 11 222 3428

  • His Excellency Farouk Al-Charaa, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: 963 11 332 06 86

Please also write to the embassies of Syria in your respective country.
Geneva-Paris, May 26, 2005

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

The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders, and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line:
Tel and Fax FIDH: + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / + 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and Fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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