CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS, INCLUDING THE QUESTIONS OF TORTURE AND DETENTION
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Report of the Special Rapporteur, Theo van Boven
Summary of information, including individual cases, transmitted to Governments and replies received *
* The present document is being circulated in the languages of submission only as it greatly exceeds the page limitations currently imposed by the relevant General Assembly resolutions.
1. This addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur contains, on a country-by-country basis, summaries of reliable and credible allegations of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment that were brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur, and were transmitted to the Governments concerned. It also contains replies from Governments. This addendum does not illustrate the state of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment throughout the world, but rather reflects the state of information brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur.
SUMMARY OF CASES TRANSMITTED AND REPLIES RECEIVED
854. By letter dated 5 August 2004, the Special Rapporteur notified the Government that he had received allegations concerning:
855. Amad Sherif . He was arrested at his home on 12 January 2003 and brought to the Ofer Detention Camp. Soon afterwards he was transferred to the General Security Service (GSS) Interrogation Unit at the Russian Compound in Jerusalem, then to the Kishon Detention Centre, and later to the Eshel Prison. An Order Prohibiting Meeting with Counsel was imposed against Amad Sherif following his arrest. He was held in incommunicado detention until 20 January 2004. In a sworn affidavit on 27 June 2004, Amad Sherif stated that at the Ofer Detention Camp his interrogators threatened to use "military interrogation" because he was a "ticking bomb". He stated that the interrogators slapped him on several occasions, and forced him to sit with his back bent (the so-called "banana method") for a half an hour at a time. During his first three days at the Russian Compound Detention Centre he was forced to sit with his back bent backwards, and his interrogators tightened his handcuffs until he needed medical attention. The interrogators forced him to lean against a wall with his legs bent until he collapsed from the pain. He was also forced to squat for more than one hour. He stated that the interrogators threatened to arrest his family and deport them to Gaza. One week following his arrest, the interrogators let him see his mother through his cell door, and he was told that she was under arrest and would remain in detention until he confessed.
856. M. A. F. S. , 16 years old. At around 2 pm on 24 April 2003, in a taxi on the way to school, he was arrested by Israel Defence Forces (IDF) near Kfar Geva, Jenin. The soldiers handcuffed him, stripped him of his clothes down to his underpants, and hit him all over his body and on the head. They tightened his handcuffs so much that the marks were still visible two and a half months later. While they were transporting him blindfolded to the prison facility at Araba, the soldiers beat him again. When they arrived, they threw him into the camp with his hands and feet tightly handcuffed. M.A.F.S. was left that way until 10 pm, without receiving any food or drink. He was then transferred to the Salem detention facility. There, four soldiers beat him using the butts of their rifles and sticks on the head, face, stomach and legs until he bled. The beatings lasted until 2 am. M.A.F.S. was subsequently taken to the Kishon Detention Centre, where he was questioned for three hours while seated on a small chair, with his hands and feet handcuffed and his body bent backwards. After this, he was put in solitary confinement for one week. During this time he was interrogated twice, once for six hours and once for three hours. He was then taken to the Megiddo Prison. After having been held there for 15 days in a tent with 20 other prisoners, he was sent back to the Kishon Detention Centre for another week in solitary confinement. On the seventh day of detention there, he was taken for an interrogation that lasted from 10 am to 5 pm. During this interrogation, he was placed seated with his back stretched backwards, and the interrogator kicked him in the legs. The following day, he was again interrogated for three hours, seated in the same position. The kicks that he received made it difficult for him to stand. He was taken back to his cell, where he remained until 20 June 2003, when he was taken to the Sharon Prison, where he is still being held.
857. Osama Abu-Hin , 28 years old. Around 11.30 am on 1 May 2003, IDF soldiers broke into his home in the Al Shajaiya neighbourhood in Gaza City and killed three members of his family while arresting him, along with Yasser Abu Hin, a 25-year-old journalist. The soldiers tied Osama Abu-Hin’s hands with tight handcuffs, covered his eyes and transferred him to the Erez detention facility where he was kept in a 2m2 cell together with two, and sometimes three, other persons. There was no toilet in the cell and the detainees were forced to use a bucket in the corner, resulting in extremely bad odours. The cell had no artificial light or mattresses and the inmates had to sleep on the floor. The cell also had only one window without glass, thus exposing the inmates to the elements, flies and mosquitoes. While at the Erez detention facility, Osama Abu-Hin was interrogated by the GSS officers three times, each session lasting four hours. His interrogators threatened him with violence, sexual harassment and sodomy if he did not confess to the crimes he was charged with. During the last eight days of his detention in the Erez facility, Osama Abu-Hin was kept in solitary confinement. On 18 May, he was transferred to the Shikma detention centre in Ashkelon. In the Shikma detention centre he was interrogated daily from 10 am until 8 pm. During the sessions Osama Abu-Hin was seated on a low stool, his back bent backwards, with his hands and legs tied in tight-fitting chains, which drew blood. This technique is known as "Shabeh." His interrogators slapped him on the face and threatened to demolish his home and arrest the members of his family if he did not confess. Mr. Abu-Hin is currently being detained at the Ketziot Detention Facility in the Negev.
858. M. A. , aged 17, Azariya. On 4 September 2003 at 1 am, he was arrested and taken to the Ma’ale Adumim police station on suspicion of throwing stones and Molotov cocktails. At the time of his arrest, M. A.’s mother gave medical reports to the soldiers, stating that he was recovering from cancer and required regular check-ups, but the soldiers tore them up. He was then taken to the Atzion military detention centre, where four policemen in plain clothes beat him on the face, hands, legs and feet. They tied his hands and legs with cuffs and opened his legs with force to hit him on and around his genitals. A soldier pulled him by the hair and administered electric shocks by placing electrical cords on his body. A dog was brought in to scare him. Throughout the interrogation he was subjected to verbal abuse. M. A. was forced to sign a statement, which was not translated. Upon experiencing chest pains a doctor was brought in and advised him to drink one litre of water per day, without an examination. In detention he was denied medication and treatment for his existing health condition. M. A. was held in a small, dark and damp cell with up to eight persons. Small quantities of food of poor quality were provided.
859. R.A.A.N. , aged 13, Jericho. On 28 September 2003 at midnight, he was arrested at the Ma’ale Adumim checkpoint and taken to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and interrogated. He was beaten during the interrogation by soldiers and then moved to the Atzion detention centre. For two days R.A.A.N. was kept in solitary confinement in a cage. After that he was put into a cell packed with other prisoners.
860. By letter dated 5 August 2004, the Special Rapporteur notified the Government that he had received allegations concerning Facility 1391 , located in military base 1391, outside of Tel Aviv. According to the allegations received:
861. The secret facility is used for the interrogation of Arab prisoners, who are held incommunicado and in total isolation, in some cases for months and even years. Access to the facility by family members, lawyers, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross, is denied. The detainees are not informed where they are held, but have been told: "you are on the moon", "you are in a grave", "you are outside Israel", "in a submarine", "in space", on another planet" in order to deepen the sense of abandonment. They are placed in small, damp, windowless cells with walls painted dark, and a low buzzing noise playing constantly. Some cells have no toilets, but buckets for waste instead, which are emptied every few weeks. Personal hygiene is difficult to maintain because of the lack of running water, soap, clean clothes and towels. The mattresses are damp and filthy. It is said that the clothes and bedding are insufficient to protect against the cold. When taken from the cell a sack is put over the detainee’s heads. The soldiers prevent the detainees from sleeping by pounding on the cell doors. Detainees have been forced to undergo severe beatings, including sexual assault, have been held naked for days and photographed, prevented from going to the bathroom, and had threats made against family members. Detainees have testified that they have suffered severe mental distress as a consequence of detention in the facility.
862. By letter dated 30 November 2004, the Special Rapporteur notified the Government that he had received allegations concerning:
863. M. H. I. A , aged 16 and his brother, A. , aged 13, Gaza. On 11 January 2003, they were wounded and apprehended by members of the IDF and transported to the Soroka Hospital, Beer-Sheva. They were handcuffed to their beds on arrival, were denied access to their parents, and remained restrained to their beds for five days.
864. Riham As’ad Muhammad Sheikh Muss , aged 15. On 23 February 2003, she was hospitalized with injuries to her stomach, intestines and leg at the Meir Hospital, Kfar-Saba, after she was shot by a member of the Israeli Defence Forces. Despite her injuries, she remained handcuffed to her bed for the entire three-week period of hospitalization.
865. On 8 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention regarding Mohammed Kannaneh, aged 38, and Maied Kannaneh , aged 33, both from Arrabeh village, Galilee. According to the allegations received, they were arrested on 7 February 2004, detained without charge and prevented from meeting with their lawyers for 21 days. During the first three weeks of their detention, they were subjected to intensive interrogation by the GSS personnel. They were deprived of sleep and painfully handcuffed to a chair. They were indicted on 4 March 2004 for suspected security offences. Since their indictment, they have been held at the GSS cellblock of the Kishon Detention Centre in a 9m2 large cell with no windows and hosting up to six detainees. As there are no beds in the cell, the detainees sleep on mattresses on the floor and use dirty blankets supplied by the Detention Centre. The detainees are allowed to leave the cell only during visits with their lawyers or for medical check ups. Although Mohammed Kannaneh and Maied Kannaneh are entitled to receiving the visit of their lawyers once a day, contact with their relatives has been strictly forbidden. With a view to protest against these conditions of detentions, the two above-named detainees undertook a hunger strike. As a result of the reported intensive interrogation sessions, the alleged poor conditions of detentions and the hunger strike, Mohammed Kannaneh and Maied Kannaneh are said to be in a poor condition. On 31 March 2004, the Haifa District Court reportedly denied a motion filed on behalf of the two detainees, which requested an immediate transfer to another Prison Service facility and the improvement of the conditions of detention in the GSS cell block. The Haifa District Court reportedly ruled that this petition would be scheduled for a hearing if the petitioners were not transferred by 13 April 2004.
882. Par lettre en date du 30 avril 2004, le Rapporteur spécial, conjointement avec le Rapporteur spécial sur la promotion et la protection du droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, a informé le Gouvernement qu’il avait reçu des renseignements selon lesquels un rassemblement pacifique en faveur de la libération de prisonniers libanais détenus en Syrie, organisé le 7 avril 2004 à Beyrouth, aurait été dispersé de façon violente. Près de 500 personnes, dont des étudiants, des familles de détenus et des représentants d’organisations non gouvernementales, se seraient réunies dans la matinée du 7 avril 2004 à l’initiative du Comité des familles de détenus libanais en Syrie et de SOLIDE (Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile). Selon les informations reçues, l’organisation de ce rassemblement avait été annoncée deux jours plus tôt lors d’une conférence de presse. Ce rassemblement visait à soutenir la délégation qui devait se rendre au siège de la Commission économique et sociale des Nations Unies pour l’Asie occidentale à Beyrouth, afin de déposer une pétition lancée par différents mouvements étudiants demandant la libération de quelque 200 Libanais qui seraient détenus en Syrie. Plus de 10 000 signatures avaient été recueillies en ce sens. Toutefois, il semblerait que les participants aient été violemment dispersés par l’armée qui aurait notamment utilisé des lances à eau. Plusieurs d’entre eux auraient été frappés au moyen de matraques, y compris des personnes âgées, ainsi que Ghazi Aad , responsable de SOLIDE, dont la chaise roulante aurait été cassée. Au moins un étudiant aurait été transporté à l’hôpital. La délégation n’aurait pas pu se rendre au rendez-vous qui lui avait été fixé avec un fonctionnaire des Nations Unies chargé des droits de l’homme.
883. Par lettres datées des 16 et 26 juillet 2004, le Gouvernement a transmis aux Rapporteurs spéciaux la réponse de la Direction générale des forces de la sécurité intérieure. Selon cette direction, les personnes arrêtées en vertu de la loi pour avoir porter atteinte à la sécurité, ou pour avoir commis des infractions ne sont pas soumises à la torture. Toutes les méthodes utilisées par les forces de l’ordre pour prévenir la commission d’infractions sont les mêmes que dans tout autre Etat et ne violent pas le droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression. Les forces de sécurité exercent leurs fonctions avec sérieux, discipline et compétence.
884. On 16 January 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal concerning the reported imminent execution of Ahmad ‘Ali Mansour, Badea’ Waleed Hamada and Remi Antoan Za’atar . According to allegations received, the executions are due to take place at Roumieh prison in Beirut on 17 January 2004. According to the information received, Ahmad ‘Ali Mansour is to be executed by hanging while Badea’ Waleed Hamada and Remi Antoan Za’atar are to be executed by firing squad. If these executions take place as scheduled, they will reportedly be the first since the President took office on 24 November 1998.
Syrian Arab Republic
1687. By letter dated 22 November 2004, sent jointly with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the Special Rapporteur notified the Government that he had received allegations concerning:
1688. Ahmad Ma’mu Kenjo , a 37 year-old Kurd. He was arrested in March 2004, detained incommunicado at an unknown location in Ras al-’Ayn, north-eastern Syria during April and May. He suffered a head wound, perpetrated by officers of Military Intelligence (al-Mukhabarat al-’Askariya) or of Political Security (al-Amn al-Siyassi) directorates. It was said to have caused severe head pains and serious brain damage, and he was released as a result. He died at home on 3 August. It is believed that Ahmad Ma’mu Kenjo was never charged with an offence.
1689. Ahmad Husayn Hasan (named in some reports as Ahmad Husayn Husayn), al-Malikiye, near the borders with Iraq and Turkey.
1690. He had been detained incommunicado since his arrest on 13 July 2004, and died in custody on 1 or 2 August 2004, due to torture at the Military Intelligence Branch, al-Hasaka. Military Intelligence officers told Ahmad Husayn Hasan’s family that his body was buried at Tel Ma’teb cemetery, without allowing anyone to see the body or to have a post-mortem conducted. It is believed that Ahmad Husayn Hasan was never charged with an offence.
1691. On 15 January 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding Mohammad Mustafa, Khaled Ahmed ‘Ali, Sherif Ramadhan, ‘Amr Mourad, Salar Saleh, Hosam Mohammad Amin, Husayn Ramadhan and Mas’ud Hamid (cited in previously transmitted communications, E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1662, 1663, 1668, 1669). According to the allegations received, the eight men have been beaten up and ill-treated in detention at the ‘Adra prison outside Damascus, and that seven of them are held in cells of 1m x 1.5m, while Mohammad Mustafa, a lawyer, is being held in a cell which is said to be a toilet of 80cm x 80cm. These persons were scheduled to appear before the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), on 11 January 2004, and, although it is not clear on what charges they will be tried, fears have been expressed that they might be sentenced to extremely heavy prison terms. Reports also indicate that Hassan Saleh , 61 year-old, and Marwan ‘Uthman , have been held incommunicado at the ‘Adra prison since 15 December 2002, five days after participating in a peaceful demonstration in Damascus that called for greater protection for the rights of Syrian Kurds. They have been denied visits by lawyers, relatives and doctors. Further reports indicate that Fateh Jamus and Safwan ‘Akkash , both members of the Party for Communist Action, ‘Abd al-Ghani Bakri, Hazim ‘Ajaj al-Aghra’i, Muhammad Deeb Kor, ‘Abd al-Jawwad al-Saleh, Hashem al-Hashem, Yassar Qaddur, Zaradesht Muhammad, Rashid Sha’ban, Fuad Bawadqji, Ghazi Mustafa, Najib Dedem and Samir ‘Abd al-Karim Nashar , who were arrested by the police on 23 August 2003 as they were heading for a lecture on "the state of emergency" imposed by the authorities in Syria since 1963, were scheduled to be tried on 20 December 2003. The 14 men were charged with "affiliation to a secret organization and carrying out acts that could incite factional conflict within the nation". Finally, reports indicate that Idris ‘Abdel Hamid , was arrested on 21 December 2003 for participating in a demonstration outside the Aleppo Military Court, in support of the 14 men mentioned above. Idris ‘Abdel Hamid is being held in incommunicado detention at an unknown location.
1692. By letter dated 22 January 2004, the Government indicated that they had already responded to the allegations concerning Hassan Saleh and Marwan ‘Uthman (E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1656); and Mohammad Mustafa, Khaled Ahmed ‘Ali, Sherif Ramadhan, ‘Amr Mourad, Salar Saleh, Hosam Mohammad Amin, Husayn Ramadhan and Mas’ud Hamid (ibid, para. 1663 and 1669).
1693. By letter dated 12 July 2004, the Government informed that Mohammed Mustafa, Khaled Ahmed `Ali, Sherif Ramadhan, `Amr Mourad, Salar Saleh, Hosam Mohammed Amin, Husayn Ramadhan and Mas`ud Hamid were arrested for taking part in an unlawful demonstration in the city of Damascus and were referred for trial. As for Hassan Saleh and Marwan `Uthman, they were released by the courts on 24 February 2004. With regard to Fateh Jamus, Safwan `Akkash, `Abd al-Ghani Bakri, Hazim `Ajaj al-Aghra`i, Mohammed Deeb Kor, `Abd al-Jawwad Saleh, Hashem al-Hasem, Yasser Qaddur, Zaradesht Muhammad, Rashid Sha`ban, Fuad Bawadqji, Ghazi Mustafa, Najib Dedem and Samir `Abd al-Karim Nashar, none of these persons are in detention. It should be noted that detainees are subject to prevailing prison regulations and are provided with food and health care. They also receive regular family visits.
1694. On 11 February 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding Mu’eyna Muhammad Yusef Sa’adu , age 50. According to the allegations received, Mu’eyna Muhammad Yusef Sa’adu has been held incommunicado since 14 January 2004, when she was arrested by military security officers as she re-entered Syria after 24 years in exile in Jordan. Two of her nine children were with her but were not detained. She was reportedly interrogated in several different places, and is now believed to be held at the Military Intelligence centre at al-Mezze, in Damascus. Her husband, Khaled al-Ra’ei, and three sons are reportedly members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation. It is reported that she has a heart condition and requires medication and a special diet.
1695. By letter dated 5 April 2004, the Government informed that Mu’eyna Muhammad Yusef Sa’adu was released on 15 February 2004.
1696. On 17 February 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding Massud Hamid (cited in previously transmitted communications, E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1668, 1669, as well as para. X). According recent allegations received, he has been held in incommunicado detention since 24 July 2003 in Adra prison, near Damascus. The police arrested him on 24 July while he was writing an exam at Damascus University, one month after the photographs he took on 25 June of a Kurdish protest in front of UNICEF’s Damascus offices, were posted on the Kurdish-language website, www.amude.com. Since his arrest, Mr. Hamid has not been allowed any visits in detention, apart from a 10-minute meeting with a member of his family. Reports suggest that he had been tortured in detention.
1697. By letter dated 10 May 2004, the Government informed that he has been brought to justice, and is awaiting trial.
1698. On 27 February 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding ‘Abdel Rahman al-Shaghouri . According to the allegations received, he was reportedly arrested at a checkpoint between Quneitra and Damascus on 23 February 2003, for his use of the internet to send articles to his friends. He was beaten in custody, before being transferred to Sednaya prison where he is said to be held incommunicado. It is reported that on 14 December 2003 he appeared before a state security court which set the next court session for March 2004.
1699. By letter dated 9 March 2004, the Government informed that information on this case was previously transmitted (i.e. E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1661, and para. X), and that any further information will be transmitted promptly.
1700. On 16 March 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding Fahim Hassan Yusuf , his son, Jomard Fahim Yusuf , Hussain Muhammad Murad , Akram Muhammad Murad , Hassan Muhammad Murad , Khader Nawar Manja , and Zeres Nawar Manja , Syrian Kurds. According to the allegations received, they were arrested at their homes on the morning of 9 March 2004, following Kurdish demonstrations in the northern cities of Qamishli and al-Hassaka on 8 March to mark International Women’s Day. Their whereabouts are unknown but it is believed they may be held in the custody of the Political Security Directorate in the northern city of al-Hassaka.
1701. On 18 March 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding reports of mass arrests of Syrian Kurds . According to the allegations received, the arrests followed clashes between rival Kurdish and Arab fans at a football match in Qamishli. The security forces opened fire into the crowd, killing between 19 and 22 Kurds, and three children were trampled to death as the crowds tried to escape. Following this incident clashes between Syrian Kurds and Syrian security forces broke out in Qamishli, Allepo, al-Hassaka and Damascus. Hundreds of Kurdish men , and boys as young as 14 , were detained. A number of those detained in unknown locations are reported to be Kurdish students at the University of Damascus, including Fahima Asko, Sourya Amko, ‘Ali Huseini, Mizgin Huseini, Nasiba Huseini, Nizar Kousa, Jawdan Huseini, Jawan Hasse, Nawras Moura’i, Sipan Sayda, Sarteep Youssef, and Darchin Huchik.
1702. By letter dated 16 September 2004, the Government informed that the arrests were made following disturbances that broke out in the governorate of Hassakah. The vast majority of those arrested, were released after questioning, while the remainder were referred to the competent court, under the laws on riotous assembly, sabotage and causing damage to public property, and were tried for committing acts of sabotage against public institutions and installations. None of the arrested persons was subjected to torture or ill-treatment, and they were all arrested, detained and tried in accordance with laws and regulations which do not conflictwith human rights.
1703. On 1 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding Mohammed Ghanem , a writer and journalist. According to the allegations received, he was arrested following the publication of his article on violent clashes between Kurds, Arab tribes and security forces in Qamishli. Mr.Ghanem’s whereabouts are unknown.
1704. On 1 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, regarding Hassan Watfi , a 39 year-old human rights defender and an active member of the Syrian chapter of the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), Masiaf, outskirts of Hama, central Syria. According to the allegations received, on 16 March 2004, he was arrested by political security officers at his home. He is being held incommunicado at the Military Intelligence Centre in Damascus.
1705. On 13 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, regarding at least 40 Syrian Kurds, including children . According to the allegations received, they were killed, most of them by the security forces, since violent clashes at a 12 March football match. It is reported that on 13 March, police attacked mourners attending the funerals of those killed. This led to two days of protests in various towns in north-eastern Syria, including al-Malikiya, al-Qahtaniya and ‘Amouda. In al-Malikiya the security forces fired at protesters who were throwing stones at the Military Intelligence and State Security buildings. Sixteen year-old H. N. and six year-old B. S. were shot dead. Protesters were also shot at and injured in al-Qahtaniya. Around 13 March, protesters beat up the head of the ‘Amouda police station, who later died of his injuries. Up to 2,500 Syrian Kurds , including M. J. , age 16 from al-Qahtaniya, and other children, remain in detention since their arrest on 12 March. Although some 500 to 600 people were released around 19 March, the whereabouts of the rest of the detainees remain unknown, and some, including children, have been tortured. K. M. R. , age 17, was held for nine days, and subjected to electric shocks until he lost consciousness. Moussa ‘Abdel Fatah Shaheen had to be hospitalised after he was tortured in custody. Many of the injured are being held in detention in government hospitals.
1706. By letter dated 15 September 2004, the Government informed that the persons were arrested following disturbances that took place in the governorate of Hassakah. The vast majority of those arrested were released after questioning, while the remainder wre referred to the competent court. None of these persons was subjected to torture or ill-treatment and all the arrest, detention and trial procedures wee carried out in accordance with the due process of law, as defined in laws and regulations which do not conflict with human rights.
1707. On 15 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding N. S. M. , A. S. A. , W. M. S. , S. S. , all Syrian-Kurdish school children age 12 to 13 years old. According to the allegations received, on 6 April 2004, the children were arrested by members of the political security department at al-Talane’ school, Qamishli. They were ill-treated during their arrest and taken to a detention centre in al-Hassaka, the exact location and conditions of which are unknown. It is unknown whether they have been charged with any offence or granted access to their families or lawyers.
1708. On 16 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, concerning Aktham Naisse, head of the Committees for the Defence of Democratic Liberties and Human Rights (CDDLHR), which has been conducting a nationwide campaign for political reform and respect for human rights, and advocating for an end to the state of emergency in Syria (cited in previously transmitted communications, E/CN.4/2002/106, para. 334, and dated 16 February and 9 March 2004 by the Special Representative on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression). According to the allegations received, on 13 April 2004, after having being summoned, he was arrested when he presented himself at the department of military security in the city of Latakia. He is held incommunicado although the authorities there deny that he is in custody.
1709. On 27 April 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression regarding Muhannad al-Dabas, Wa’il ‘Azzuz, Shadi Abu-Fakhr, Dhahayr Abu-Latif, ‘Umar ‘Abdalla, Khaled al-’Asrawi, Muhammad ‘Arab, Basil Dayyub, Mihyar Khashrum, Naser Babesni, Mustafa al-Yusuf, Moris ‘Ayiqq , all students from the University of Damascus and University of Aleppo. According to the allegations received, on 24 April 2004, the 12 students were arrested by the security forces in Damascus, and are held incommunicado at the Department of Political Security.
1710. On 11 June 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, regarding Akhtam Naisse (cited in previously transmitted communications, para. 1707). According to the allegations received, on 22 April 2004, he was charged with ‘carrying out activities contrary to the socialist system of the state and ‘opposing the objectives of the revolution’. On 26 April, Akhtam Naisse appeared before the Supreme State Security Court (SSSC), where he was reportedly interrogated for two days regarding his human rights activities. He was ill-treated in prison, and as a result, suffered a stroke which left him partly paralyzed and unable to speak clearly. He has been denied medical care. A lawyer was present at the hearing to assist with the questioning, but, on seeing the condition of Aktham Naisse, refused to do so. He was then threatened that “he would be in Mr Naisses’s place” if he did not cooperate. The outcome of the SSSC hearing has not been published, and Aktham Naisse continues to be denied legal representation, as well as visits from his family.
1711. By letter dated 20 September 2004, the Government informed that he was arrested on 13 April 2004. He was sent for trial before the Higher State Security Court for disseminating false and exaggerated reports likely to harm Syria’s relations with neighbouring States, for circulating a petition calling for political reform in which fictitious names appeared or the names of well-known persons were used without their knowledge, and for founding an unauthorized secret association. The State Secuity Court held two sessions, the first on 26 July 2004 and the second on 16 August 2004, attended by a number of Syrian and Arab lawyers and representatives from the European Union and the United States embassies. At the second session, Akhtam Naisse was released on bail pending his trial, which was postponed until 24 October 2004. He confessed to the charges against him and made an apology.
1712. On 9 July 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding allegations received with respect to the following persons:
1713. Anwar Badr al-Din , Ayham Ahmad ‘Umran , Sari Muhyi al-Din Badr al-Din , Fadi Muhammad ‘Abd al-Ghani, Usama Ahmad Atiyyah, Ahmad Dib al-Zayn, Rami Ahmad ‘Arafa, Adkar Bundugji, Yahya Bundugj, Gasem Bundugj, Arshid al-Shaykh, Tareq Nadim Shehadah, Ibrahim Sabbura, Ahmad al-Shaykh, and ‘Umar Nader. On 2 July 2004, they were arrested by military intelligence officers among an unspecified number of people during a night raid on homes in Qatnah on the outskirts of Damascus. Most of those who were arrested and subsequently detained incommunicado are secondary school students and are suspected of being Islamist fundamentalists.
1714. Muhammad Ramiz Sultan , a Lebanese national. On 7 June 2004, he was arrested by members of the Syrian security forces at the Syrian-Lebanese borders as he and his wife traveled to Syria for a holiday. Since his arrest, he has been held incommunicado at the Palestine Branch Detention Centre in Damascus.
1715. On 23 September 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, concerning ‘Abd al-Salam Assaqqa , age 45, a Syrian national residing in Jordan. According to the allegations received, on 27 August 2004, he and his wife and children, who had been visiting Syria, were stopped at the border as they attempted to re-enter Jordan. ‘Abd al-Salam Assaqqa was asked to come to the Syrian side of the border to sign consent papers for the travel of his eight year-old son. However, when he arrived he was threatened by Syrian security forces, tried to flee back to the Jordanian side of the border, and was handed over to Syrian security officers. He was taken to the Military Intelligence Centre, Homs, where he is currently held incommunicado; he has not received any visits from his family, lawyers or doctors, nor has he been charged with any offence. In detention he has been repeatedly beaten on his feet, stomach, and all over his body with sticks and cables. He is reportedly in serious condition.
1716. On 29 September 2004, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, concerning Ayman Ardeli , a 44 year-old Australian and Syrian nationalities. According to the allegations received, he is being held at the Palestine Branch (Far’Filisteen) of Military Intelligence in an overcrowded cell known as a "tomb" cell (i.e. measure 475cm by 475cm and houses between 20 and 60 people). He was arrested at Damascus Airport in August 2003, and initially detained at the Aleppo Branch of Military Intelligence, where he was subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. He has been held incommunicado for more than one year without access to his family, a lawyer, or Consular officials. He is suffering from severe migraines, heart problems and high blood pressure. He is given local medicine, which is said to be inadequate for his condition.
Follow-up to previously transmitted communications
1717. By letter dated 20 January 2004, the Government provided information concerning ‘Abdel Rahman Shaghouri ( E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1672. See also ibid, paras. 1660-1661). The Government informed that he is currently in prison awaiting trial, his case was referred to the Higher State Security Court on 30 June 2003. Moreover, it informed that he is not suffering any significant illnesses.
1718. By letter dated 20 January 2004, the Government provided information concerning Faiq Kamangar (E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1671). The Government informed that the investigation carried out by the competent authorities uncovered no information or records referring to his detention or to any other procedures taken in his regard.
1719. By letter dated 20 January 2004, the Government provided information concerning Hasan Mustafa (E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1673). The Government informed that the competent authorities have not found any information or records referring to his detention or to any other procedures taken in his regard.
1720. By letter dated 4 February 2004, the Government provided information concerning ‘Abdalla al-Malki (E/CN.4/2004/56/Add.1, para. 1670). The Government informed that he was arrested on 3 May 2002 for breaching the laws in place and has been transferred to the relevant court for trial.
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Document Type: Annual report, Report, Special Rapporteur Report
Document Source: Commission on Human Rights, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
Source Country: Israel
Subject: Agenda Item, Covenant: Civil and Political Rights, Prisoners and detainees
Publication Date: 30/03/2005