Rania Al-Abbasi, her husband and six children – Source: US Department of State
Paris – Syrian Network for Human Rights:
The US Department of State’s Office for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) has launched a new campaign in support of political prisoners worldwide, entitled ‘Without Just Cause’. The campaign aims to shed light on the increase in efforts by tyrannical regimes to shut down opposition and oppress political freedoms in many countries around the world, including Syria, and to share the stories of some of the individuals imprisoned for practicing their human rights. The initiative also aims to put pressure on the regimes detaining these prisoners to release them and all political prisoners through public diplomacy, bilateral engagement, outreach to international organizations, and meetings with other governments, NGOs, and families of political prisoners.
Upon receiving a request from the DRL to nominate the case of a political prisoner in Syria for the campaign, the Syrian Network for Human Rights named Dr. Rania Al-Abbasi, who, has been forcibly disappeared, along with her family, inside the Syrian regime forces’ detention centers since 2013. SNHR has provided the DRL with information about and details of the arrest incident and the ensuing forced disappearance by the Syrian regime forces. SNHR also provided contact with a member of her family, as well as nominating many other prominent forcibly disappeared individuals.
Rania, a dentist, and chess champion from Damascus city, who won a number of Syrian and Arab chess championships, was born in 1970.
She was arrested by Syrian regime forces on Monday, March 11, 2013, in the Dummar neighborhood of Damascus city, along with her six children (Dima born in 1999, Intisar born in 2001, Najah born in 2003, Aalaa born in 2005, Ahmad born in 2007, and Layan born in 2011, who was an infant at the time of her arrest), and her friend Majdoleen al Qadi. This followed the arrest of Rania’s husband, Abdul Rahman Yasin, on Saturday, March 9, 2013. The fate of the couple and their children remains unknown. We have called for her release and for her fate to be revealed without receiving any response from the Syrian regime.
In 2015, SNHR nominated another prominent political prisoner, Rasha Chorbaji, in the ‘Free the 20 Campaign’ launched by Ambassador Samantha Power, the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations at the time, to attract attention to the plight of female political prisoners, which included 20 prominent cases for arbitrarily detained women from around the world.
SNHR believes in the importance of working and intensifying efforts at all levels in order to secure the release of approximately 136,000 detainees and forcibly disappeared persons currently held by the Syrian regime. We affirm our constant readiness to share the data we have documented for use in serving the detainees and the forcibly disappeared in Syria within the scopes of accountability, advocacy, and with all international bodies concerned with Syria.
We hope that such campaigns will contribute to the advocacy processes to put pressure on the international community and decision-makers to create binding pressure mechanisms to secure the detainees’ release, reveal the fate of the forcibly disappeared, and end all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law.