Target: Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Goal: Secure the immediate release of two prisoners of conscience in Syria
As the conflict in Syria drags on, more and more people find themselves swept up in the violence. Two women–Ranim Khalil Ma’touq and Jihan Amin–have found themselves among the war’s latest victims, as both were recently arrested at their own homes. Their whereabouts are unknown and they have not been charged with any crimes. Sign the petition and demand that the Syrian government immediately release the women.
Ranim Khalil Ma’touq is a fine arts student. She was arrested in Sahnaya, near the capital of Damascus. During her arrest, security forces confiscated computers from her family’s home and beat her younger brother. She is the daughter of human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq, “who has been subjected to enforced disappearance by the Syrian authorities since 2 October 2012,” Amnesty International reports.
Jihan Amin was arrested the same day as Ranim Khalil Ma’touq. She, like Ranim’s father, is a human rights lawyer, and worked with him at the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research.
Neither woman’s family has been notified of her whereabouts, and neither woman has officially been charged with any crime. Amnesty International suspects that the women are being held because of their association with Khalil Ma’touq, which makes them prisoners of conscience.
The incommunicado detentions of Ranim Khalil Ma’touq and Jihan Amin violate international human rights standards and are another disgraceful instance of human rights issues in Syria. Sign the petition and demand that both women either be charged with internationally recognizable crimes or immediately released, and ensure that their rights are respected while they remain in custody.
I am writing to express my concern over the well-being of Ranim Khalil Ma’touq and Jihan Amin, neither of whom has been heard from following their arrests on February 17, 2014. Their incommunicado detentions violate international human rights standards, and as such, I demand that the women be released immediately.
Officials suspect that the women have been arrested as a result of their association with human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq, who has been the victim of an enforced disappearance for nearly a year and a half. If this is true, the women are prisoners of conscience and should be released immediately. If there is some other reason behind their arrests, they must be officially charged with an internationally-recognizable offense, and their families must be informed of their whereabouts. Furthermore, they should have access to legal representation, basic necessities, and adequate medical attention, and their detention must be free of any incidents of torture or ill-treatment.
Syria–and the atrocities that occur on its watch–occupy a prominent space on the world stage right now, and the global community will not stand for further abuses of human rights. Release Ranim Khalil Ma’touq and Jihan Amin immediately.
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Photo credit: jeffreylcohen via Flickr