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Written by HRDs and Journalists
Syria-Fears for life of human rights activist Fatima Saad following her torture in detention
Beirut, 01 August 2012- The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) has received information that the life of detained human rights activists Fatima Saad is in danger after she was subjected to torture at the hands of police officials. Fatima Saad is a media activist who has reported on events in Latakia, the suffering of the people living there and the situation of the women. She has also highlighted the urgent need for food and medicine to be distributed to those who need it.
On 28 June 2012, at approximately 5 am, the home of Khaled Saad, father of Fatima Saad, was raided by eight members of the State Security Branch in Lataki. Khaled Saad and his son and daughter Fatima Saad were arrested during the raid and security officers confiscated some personal belongings including a computer, a mobile phone, a digital camera and a memory card. Khaled Saad and his son were released several hours later following an interrogation.
Fatima Saad was transferred to the Political Security Branch in Latakia allegedly due to the discovery by security officials of a song recorded by a group of her friends in which they called for freedom. It is reported that she was subjected to torture while in detention and that she was transferred to the military hospital in Latakia as a result of her ill-treatment.
On 17 July 2012 she was transferred to Damascus where she is being held by a branch of the General Intelligence, believed to be branch number 291. It is reported that she is very weak and that her health is deteriorating rapidly.
The GCHR expresses serious concern for the physical and psychological safety of Fatima Saad and believes that her arrest and on-going detention is directly related to her peaceful human rights work and the exercise of her right to freedom of expression.
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) urges the authorities in Syria to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release Fatima Saad as GCHR believes that she has been detained solely as a result of her legitimate human rights work;
- Immediately ensure that Fatima Saad has access to a doctor and to any medical treatment that she requires;
- Immediately ensure that Fatima Saad has unfettered access to her family and lawyers;
- Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Fatima Saad;
- Immediately disclose the whereabouts of human rights defenders Mazen Darwish and other human rights defenders whose whereabouts remain unknown;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Syria are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
GCHR respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals. We would particularly draw your attention to Article 6 (b): “Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others: (b) As provided for in human rights and other applicable international instruments, freely to publish, impart or disseminate to others views, information and knowledge on all human rights and fundamental freedoms” and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights is an independent centre and has been registered in Ireland. The Centre works to strengthen support for human rights defenders and independent journalists in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.