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: 2005-07-05

LRWC is gravely concerned for the safety and security of Nizar Ristnawl, whom we have been informed is being held incommunicado in the Military Security branch in Hama, without formal charges being laid against him. We wish to respectfully remind you 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 Mr. Ristnawl. 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.

It has also been brought to our attention that Muhammad Ra’dun has been transferred to ‘Adra Prison and is currently being held in solitary confinement while awaiting trial before the Supreme State Security Court (“SSSC”) on charges of “disseminating false information” and “involvement in an illegal organization of an international nature.”

LRWC would like to remind your government again of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Person Under Any From of Detention or Imprisonment, with particular attention being principles 6, 8, 15, as listed above. We also wish to 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 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 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 for your time and attention to our concerns. LRWC awaits your response.