Friday, December 25, 2009

Syria: Kurdish human rights worker arrested


The Society for Threatened Peoples

Göttingen, 15th December 2009: Kurdish human rights worker and lawyer arrested in Syria It is with great concern about the well-being of the Syrian Kurdish human rights worker and lawyer Mustafa Ismail that the Society for Threatened Peoples STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker GfbV) has written today to the foreign ministries of the democratically ruled states which have embassies in Syria. They are being asked to speak out for the immediate release of the human rights worker who was most probably arrested on 12th December in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. His relatives alarmed the Near-East consultant of the GfbV, Dr. Kamal Sido, of his disappearance in a personal eMail on Tuesday.

The eMail says that Ismail was summoned for interrogation on 10th December already by the air force department of the Syrian secret service in the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane (Arab: Ain al-Aarab). He was then told to report to the head-office of the same security department in the north Syrian city of Aleppo. He followed this directive, but did not return. Where the Syrian security forces are holding the Kurdish human right worker at present is at present unknown.

On 16th November Mustafa Ismail informed the STP that the government security service had interrogated him two days previously in Aleppo. This was for him the third interrogation within one year after 13th March and 3^rd October. Every time he was accused of making public statements on the situation of the Kurds in Syria. But he was neither tortured nor treated badly.

Ismail lives and works in the town of Ain al-Arab, 440 km from Damascus in the north of Syria. In his capacity as lawyer he represents many Kurds and Arabs who have been arrested on account of their activities of political opposition.

In Syria some 170 Kurds are in custody as political prisoners. The GfbV has the names of 147 of hese. The approximately two million Syrian Kurds, who in three regions on the Syrian Turkish border make up the majority of thepopulation, are today discriminated or suppressed. They are denied rights of language and culture. In 1962 citizenship was withdrawn from 300,000 Kurds during the large-scale Arabicisation programmes. Since this time international human rights organisations, among them the STP, have been demanding the restoration of their citizenship.

Für Menschenrechte. Weltweit. Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker / Society for Threatened Peoples

P.O. Box 20 24 - D-37010 Göttingen/Germany, Nahostreferat/ Middle East Desk, E-Mail: -

The Society for Threatened Peoples