Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has briefed the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on the case of three citizens, brothers Ali, Abdullah and Thaer Zakariya Wasouf, born in 1975, 1979, and 1984 respectively, all of them from Jisr al Shoghour city in the western suburbs of Idlib governorate, who were all working as drivers of vehicles designated for transporting and shipping goods at the time of their arrest. On Monday, June 27, 2011, Syrian regime forces personnel first arrested Ali in a raid on his home in al Sheirdiba neighborhood of Jisr al Shoghour city, and took him to a detention center in Jisr al Shoghour National Hospital, before transferring him to an undisclosed location. Since that date, he has been forcibly disappeared. His fate remains unknown to the SNHR, as well as to his family.
A few weeks later, on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, Syrian regime forces personnel arrested Ali’s two brothers, Abdullah and Thaer; first, they arrested Thaer at his workplace in an office of vehicles for transporting and shipping goods in Latakia city, then they arrested Abdullah in a gas station in Latakia city, in a security ambush after using his brother Thaer to lure him there. Since that date, both have been classified as forcibly disappeared, and their fate remains unknown to the SNHR, as well as to their families.
The SNHR has also briefed the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, as well as briefing the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, specifically in regard to the case of the brothers Ali, Abdullah and Thaer Zakariya Wasouf.
The Syrian authorities have denied any connection with the enforced disappearance of the brothers Ali, Abdullah and Thaer Zakariya Wasouf. The SNHR has been unable to determine their fate, as have their family members, who fear that they may be arrested and tortured by regime personnel themselves if they continue to ask about their loved ones’ whereabouts and fate, as has happened in numerous previous cases.
The SNHR has called on the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearance, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to intervene and to demand that the Syrian authorities release the three brothers immediately, as well as to secure the release of thousands of other forcibly disappeared citizens whose whereabouts and current conditions must also be revealed.
Although the Syrian government is not a party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, it is indisputably a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Enforced disappearance constitutes a violation of both instruments.
SNHR also confirms that there are well-founded fears that many of those forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime since 2011 may have been subjected to torture and possibly killed in regime detention, with the number of citizens forcibly disappeared by the regime continuing to grow.