Abdulaziz Al-Khair detention ten years on | Has the opposition given up his case? • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Abdulaziz Al-Khair detention ten years on | Has the opposition given up his case?

Ten years ago, Abdulaziz Al-Khair, the prominent Syrian regime opponent, was arrested for his political stance which criticised the policy of the ruling authorities and opposed the dictatorship and tyranny of Al-Assad’s regime. Abdulaziz Al-Khair was arrested when he arrived in Syria from the People’s Republic of China where he represented the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in meetings related to the political process in Syria.


Despite all advocacy campaigns launched by the Syrian opposition inside and outside Syria, the fate of Abdulaziz Al-Khair remains unknown, while demands to release him have been unheeded.


In an exclusive interview with SOHR, Abdulaziz Al-Khair’s wife, who is a human rights activist, says “on September 20, 2012, Abdulaziz Al-Khair, Maher Al-Tahan and Iyas Ayyash were kidnapped from Damascus international airport. Until now, regime authorities have denied the presence of these three opponents in regime prisons and detention centres, but we are sure that they were arrested by the Syrian regime’s security services. Some opposition bodies are pleased at the forcible disappearance of Abdulaziz Al-Khair and his companions.”


Abdulaziz Al-Khair’s wife has blamed the international community for the non-disclosure of the fate of her husband and his companions, clarifying that the international community has not dealt this contentious and troubling issue seriously and exerted no efforts to release them. She noted, “I will not rest until I come to know their fate and whereabouts.”


The human rights activist also discussed atrocities which detainees in regime prisons and security centres endure. She added, “I address my companions and myself, stressing the importance of our noble goal, the disclosure of the fate of forcibly disappeared individuals and the release of detainees, which we try to reach in every way possible. I address the perpetrators of those crimes, who are at large and enjoying freedom and immunities. I also address the international community, stressing our adherence to our demands. We will never give up our case.”


In an exclusive SOHR interview with the Secretary General of the Left Party, Abdullah Haj Mohammed commented on the ongoing blackout regarding the case of Abdulaziz Al-Khair who is an extraordinary political activist, referring to Al-Khair’s dream, as he whished that Syria would get rid of the system of the commanding party, also he was aware of the challenge he would face to reach this goal, especially since the Syrian regime has exerted diligent efforts to impose itself as a “leader deciding the destiny of Syria and its people.”


Abdullah Haj Mohammed clarified that Abdulaziz Al-Khair sought to create broader opportunities for political activities designed to accelerate the democratic transitional process, but he was punished for his efforts. “Abdulaziz Al-Khair has not sought for holding a political position, and if he wanted to do so, he would have done it easily during the rule of Hafez Al-Assad,” he added.


The Secretary General of the Left Party has brought to mind Abdulaziz Al-Khair’s public rejection of the armament of the Syrian Revolution, in Cairo conference, at a time when the opposition opposed this stance and called for providing rebels with weapons. He added, “today, Abdulaziz Al-Khair is held in a secret detention centre, and the opposition is unable to salvage him or know his fate and whereabouts, and we are not surprised, as this is the same opposition which opposed Al-Khair’s views and proposals in the beginning of the Syrian Revolution and did not adopt his ideas which aimed at maintaining the peaceful protests and toppling the tyrannical regime by an intellectual and rational revolution, and not by violence, disorder and weapons. Such arrests are accompanied by taking away of free will and humiliation because of the inhumane way of arrest. In addition, the detainees are deprived from communication with anyone outside the prison, appropriate health and medical care and sufficient amounts of food, in the case that they are not killed. Moreover, prison guards disregard the weather conditions and force detainees to wear inappropriate and unclean uniforms.”


For a year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has released an advocacy campaign about the issue of detainees and forcibly disappeared individuals. Several human rights institutions, organisations and activists have reacted with this campaign and participated in joint statements condemning the regime’s policy of stifling voices through arbitrary arrests and forcible disappearances.