Muhammad Ra’doun and Nizar Ristnawl

Re: Muhammad Ra’doun and Nizar Ristnawl

To: President Bashar al-Assad and others

From: Michael M. Macaulay, member of LRWC

Date: 2005-07-18

I am once again writing you on behalf of Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”) to express our concerns regarding the imprisonment and subsequent treatment of Nizar Ristnawl and Muhammad Ra’dun. I had previously writing you on July 5, 2005 expressing our concerns on their detainment, but have since received information that the health of Mr. Ra’dun has deteriorated and that he was not being afforded proper medical treatment.

Mr. Ra’dun suffers from chronic inflammation of the windpipe, which causes him to choke in his sleep, and requires that he have someone share a room with him at night so that he can be awoke if he begins choking. However, the prison has refused to allow Mr. Ra’dun to have a cellmate who could awaken him if necessary. This has caused Mr. Ra’dun great stress, and loss of sleep as a result, since he is used to sharing a room with someone who can assist him. A team of Mr. Ra’dun’s lawyers recently discovered that he had lost 13 kg (28lbs) as a result of the extra stress he is enduring. LRWC asks that Mr. Ra’dun be transferred to a hospital until he is able to recover, or at the very least is allowed a cellmate who could awaken him if he begins to choke.

LRWC has also been informed that Nizar Ristnawl has been transferred to Sednaya Prison, and remains detained incommunicado. As such, we wish to respectfully remind you once again of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person Under Any From of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the General Assembly in 1988, and encourage your government to abide by all of its principles with regard to both Mr. Ristnawl and Mr. Ra’dun. In particular, we wish to draw your attention to the following principles:

  • Principle 6, prohibiting torture or other forms of cruel and unusual treatment;
  • Principle 8, requiring unconvicted prisoners to be treated as such;
  • Principle 10, requiring the detained to be informed of the charges for which he is being held; and
  • Principle 15, prohibiting prisoners from being denied communication with the outside world for more than a matter of days.
  • Principle 24, requiring medical treatment be offered to all prisoners, free of charge, whenever necessary.

LRWC also maintains our previous call for the release of both Mr. Risnawl and Mr. Ra’dun, and wishes to once again remind your government of its commitments under:

  • Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right of all persons to enjoy freedom of opinion and expression; and
  • Article 38 of the Syrian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of expression to all Syrian citizens.

LRWC once again respectfully requests that all international covenants and treaties be followed with regard to both Mr. Ritsnawl and Mr. Ra’dun, and that both men be released immediately. In the event the men are not released, LRWC asks that Mr. Ra’dun me immediately transferred to hospital, that formal charges, for an internationally recognized crime, be laid against Mr. Ristnawl immediately and that both men receive fair trials conducted openly, by and independent and impartial judiciary, in line with all international standards. We also respectfully request that both men receive proper treatment while in prison and request guarantees from your government that neither man will be subjected to torture while imprisoned, and that both men will be allowed immediate access to friends, family and legal council.

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.