Re: Ammar Qurabi – Human rights defender
To: President Bashar al-Assad and others
From: Michael M. Macaulay, LRWC
This letter is in regards to the arrest and detention of Mr. Ammar Qurabi, the Media Manager of the Arab Organization for Human Rights – Syria (AOHR-S) on March 12, 2006. According to the reports we have received Mr. Qurabi was arrested by security forces at Damascus International Airport as he returned home from conferences on human rights and democratic reforms in Syria, held in Paris and Washington, D.C.
According to our information, Mr. Qurabi is presently being held at the “Palestine Branch” of the military intelligence services, in Damascus and has been denied the access to his lawyer or family members and has not been informed of any charges against him.
LRWC is troubled by the circumstances under which Mr. Qurabi was detained and the lack of access to lawyers and family members. LRWC wishes to remind your government of its international obligations under the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly in December of 1998. In particular, LRWC wishes to draw your attention to the following provisions of that declaration:
- Article 1, protecting the right of individual to promote the protection and realization of human rights freedoms at the national and international levels;
- Article 5(c), guaranteeing the right of individuals to communicate with non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, on a national or international level for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms; and
- Article 12.2, which requires the State to take all necessary measures to ensure the protection everyone against any violence, threats, retaliation, adverse discrimination, or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.
LRWC also respectfully requests a guarantee from your government that Mr. Qurabi’s physical and psychological integrity will be respected and asks that Mr. Qurabi be immediately released in the absence of any valid charges against him.
Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of all steps being taken by your government to rectify the situations of these men. Also, please advise LRWC of any and all steps being taken to ensure that all international standards and covenants are being respected.
Thank you once again for your time and attention to our concerns. LRWC awaits your response.