Saturday, May 21, 2011

Syria: Writer detained; fears for safety

Syria: Writer detained; fears for safety

English PEN is seriously concerned about the detention on 12 May 2011 of Najati Tayara, a writer and editor who was covering the protests which are currently taking place in Syria. He is held incommunicado at an unknown location, and is considered to be at risk of torture and ill-treatment. PEN fears that Najati Tayara is targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory, and if so calls for his immediate and unconditional release. We are urgently seeking information about his whereabouts, any charges against him and guarantees of his safety in detention.

According to our information, leading activist and writer Najati Tayara was arrested on 12 May 2011 in the city of Homs after he gave a telephone interview for Aljazeera TV on the crackdown by Syrian forces on peaceful protesters in Homs. His whereabouts are unknown and he has no contact with his family or lawyers. Tayara is editor-in-chief of the online Almarsad publication, published by the Syrian Human Rights Observatory, and contributes to the Tayyarat magazine and other periodicals and newspapers in Syria. He has also published several books including Human Rights and Democracy in Syria, published in Paris in 2001.

For information on other cases of concern in Syria, please click here.

Anti-government protests were sparked in mid-March 2011 and have since spread across the country. Mass arrests are continuing and security officers have responded to the continuing protests with excessive force, using tear gas and live bullets to disperse demonstrators. Scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and many more wounded.


Please send appeals:

- Expressing grave concern for the well-being and whereabouts of writer Najati Tayara;
- Expressing concerns for Tayara's safety, and seeking assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated in detention which violates Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
- Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Tayara and of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Syria is a state party;

Appeals to:

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: 963 11 332 3410

His Excellency Brigadier Mohamed Shaar
Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: 963 11 222 3428

Please also send copies of your appeal letters to the diplomatic representative for Syria in the UK:

His Excellency Dr. Sami Khiyami
Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
8 Belgrave Square,
Fax: 020 7235 4621

source: Englishpen

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