Paris – The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has briefed the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on the case of Engineer Khaled Ibrahim Abu Ghalioun, born in 1953, who was a civil engineer at the time of his arrest, along with his twin sons Amjad and Amir, born in 1994, who were university students at the Faculty of Human Medicine at the Private University of Qalamoun in Deir Atteya city in Damascus Suburbs governorate at the time. The father and his sons, all from Deir B’alba neighborhood of Homs city, were arrested by Syrian regime forces personnel on Sunday, November 3, 2013, near the Private University of Qalamoun, while they were trying to travel to Homs city, in conjunction with an exchange of gunfire between Syrian regime forces and unknown gunmen in the area, and were taken to an undisclosed location. Since that date, they have been forcibly disappeared. Their fate remains unknown to the SNHR, as well as to their other family members.
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 Engineer Khaled and his two sons Amjad and Amir.
The Syrian authorities have denied any connection with the enforced disappearance of Engineer Khaled Ibrahim Abu Ghalioun and his two sons Amjad and Amir. 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 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 them 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.