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Urgent Interventions

Syria: Arbitrary detention of Mr. Ammar Qurabi

SYR 001 / 0306 / OBS 028

Arbitrary arrest and detention / Fear of torture

March 15, 2006

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.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Association in Syria and by the Committees for the Defence of Human Rights and Democratic Freedoms in Syria (CDF) of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Mr. Ammar Qurabi, Media Manager of the Arab Organisation for Human Rights - Syria (AOHR - S).

According to the information received, on March 12, 2006, Mr. Qurabi was arrested by the Syrian security forces at the Damascus International Airport, as he was coming back from two conferences on human rights and democratic reforms in Syria, which were held in Paris and Washington D.C.

Mr. Qurabi was then brought to the “Palestine Branch” of the military intelligence services, in Damascus, a place known for its extremely harsh conditions of detention.

The Observatory fears for Mr. Qurabi’s safety, as he has not been allowed to meet neither his lawyer nor his family, and no information has been communicated on the existence of charges against him.

The Observatory strongly condemns Mr. Ammar Qurabi’s arbitrary detention, which seems to only aim at sanctioning his activities in favour of human rights in Syria, and at intimidating all human rights defenders.

Action requested:

Please write to the Syrian authorities and ask them to :
i. Guarantee in all circumstances Mr. Ammar Qurabi’s physical and psychological integrity, as well as of all human rights defenders in the country, and put an end to all forms of harassment against them;

ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Mr. Ammar Qurabi, in the absence of any valid charges against him;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Humans Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”; article 5c), which provides that “for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, at the national and international levels, to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organisations”, and article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or 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”;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Syria in accordance with international human rights standards.

Addresses :

  • Mr. Bashar al-ASAD, President of the Republic, Presidential Palace, Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/ Fax : + 963 11 33 23 410

  • General Basam ABD AL-MAJID, Ministry of Interior, Merjeh Circle, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/Fax : +963 11 222 34 28; Email:

  • Mr. Muhammad al-GHAFRI, Ministry of Justice, Al Nasr street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Tel/Fax : +963 11 224 62 50

  • Mr. Walid MU’ALLIM, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, al-Rashid Street, Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic. Fax: + 963 11 332 76 20

  • His Excellence Ambassador Mr. Bashar JA’AFARI, Permanent Mission of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue de Lausanne 72 (3rd floor), 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 715 45 60, Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Syria in your respective countries.

Geneva-Paris, March 15, 2006

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

The Observatory, a 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.
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Email :
Tel et fax FIDH : + 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel et fax OMCT : +41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
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