Using arrested people issue as “bargaining chip” | Calls for establishing committees for inspecting regime prison and working on setting all detainees free • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Using arrested people issue as “bargaining chip” | Calls for establishing committees for inspecting regime prison and working on setting all detainees free

People lose passion and desire to keep going, when they are robbed of their freedom when they are dragged out of their houses, coffees, streets or headquarters of a party they are member in just for their political stances and aspirations and dreams of living in a free and democratic nation that preserves the dignity of its people.

Despite of all the sacrifices by the detainees, still their issue is ambiguous and has not adressed appropriately.

We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), as attaching high importance to the issue of the detainees and their sufferings, including starvation, torture, poor medical care and deprivation of humanity and dignity, renew our calls upon the international community to intervene and disclose the fate of the detainees and forcibly disappeared people, unveil facts for the international and Syrian general opinion and relieve the sufferings of the bereaved families who lost their beloved.

SOHR has documented 2,982 arrests since early 2021 in different periods of time and for different accusations, including “evading reserve and compulsory service in the Syrian army” and “communicating with foreign bodies.” Meanwhile, a large number of the detainees have been released after their relatives paid levies and money, but nearly 514 persons remained imprisoned.

In this context, some families of the detainees and political prisoners staged a protest in Istanbul city in Turkey on February 14, where SOHR activists monitored the latest developments.

Shaymaa Bouty, the general coordinator of the protest supporting the detainees in regime prisons, told SOHR “we are here to prove to the world that Syrians, when united, can make change,” referring to some criticism for the Syrian political and social activists as divided.

The political activist sees that the detainees’ issue can unit different sides, considering it as a problem that should be granted much attention by the international community away from other political implications of the Syrian crisis.

“The detainees’ issue does not withstand any delay for tackling it,” she said, describing that problem as “a bargaining chip.”

Bouty calls for establishing committees for inspecting and monitoring the regime prisons and security detention centres to disclose the fate of the detainees and the forcibly disappeared people.

She also demands an international collaboration for releasing the political prisoners and all people arrested during the Syrian revolution.

Bouty also refers to the importance of establishing authorities for prosecuting criminals and bringing them to justice.

The political activist stresses that the protest aims for supporting detainees and exerting pressure to attach more importance for the issue of detainees via the UN, international, human rights and political sides with participation of some released male and female prisoners.

On the other hand, Syrian journalist, Aly Tabab told SOHR “this protest is an opportunity for re-shedding light on the cause of the detainees, so that it is urgently addressed and dealt with by the international community. Time passes while the detainees’ issue has not reached an end.”

The opposition activist says, “we can not save the detainees from their unknown fate via political negotiations and continuous meetings, while they have been tortured inside the regime prisons.

Mr. Tabab reiterates that thousands of detainees have been killed under torture and others die everyday in a country hosting nearly one million prisoners, 250,000 of whom were documented by human rights organisations.

He considers the protest in Istanbul as “a call by the detainees and victims’ families on the international community to save the prisoners and set them free.”

He adds the protesters have worked on gathering messages of different opposition political parties and several platforms like Cairo, Moscow and others meetings to transfer the voices and demands in a joint Syrian message, noting that the organisers and participants in the protest have also collected messages from different cities in the world to support the prisoners by publishing photos of detainees with a slogan written on them in several languages reads “we support the prisoners, please do not let them down.”

The journalist calls on the international community to seriously deal with the detainees’ issue, to work on their release and disclosing the fate of the forcibly disappeared people and to dispatch delegations of international bodies and human rights organisations to regime prisons for inspection to put an end to the sufferings of prisoners and their families.