Target: Major General Mohamad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Minister of Interior
Goal: To attain the release of the four women recently arrested for demonstrating against Syrian government
Human rights watchdogs in Syria have reported that four female protesters dressed in wedding gowns were arrested by security forces while peaceably demonstrating against the civil war in Syria. The four women seem to have been forcibly disappeared since their arrest on the 21st of November. The four women, Ru’a Ja’far, aged 24, Rima Dali, aged 33, as well sisters Kinda al-Za’our, aged 26 and Lubna alZa’our, aged 22, were arrested in a Damascus market where they were protesting dressed as brides. People at the scene claim that officers took the women away immediately after their demonstration had concluded. Family members of the arrested women have not been told where they are being held or by whom. The Syrian authorities who have detained these women must release them immediately and unconditionally. Only one of the arrested women, Rima Dali, has been detained previously for demonstrating peacefully against the government. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency previously employed Rima Dali as well.
This is hardly the first time that security officials have arrested suspected opponents of the government in Syria since protests started in early 2011. Most of these suspects have been tortured or mistreated without any trial or due process of law. Human rights groups have amassed a list of over 650 names of people who have died in the custody of government forces. While the government has been responsible for most of the documented cases of abuse against innocent parties, it should be said that opposition groups have also committed similar atrocities. This includes the torture and killing of captured enemy soldiers and people who are believed to have been working with the government. This is not to say that the protesters listed above are in the hands of the rebels, but simply that there have to be drastic changes in awareness of basic human rights by both sides.
Sign this petition and demand that the Syrian government protect the right to the freedom of expression. In this time of great tumult in the country, the government might be able to restore a bit of order by not targeting its civilian population so viciously. At the very least, the government officials responsible may do themselves a favor by beginning to improve their human rights record for the trials that are sure to come after the end of the conflict.
Dear Major General Mohamad Ibrahim al-Shaar,
Reports that four women have recently been arrested for peacefully protesting in Damascus are disturbing to me. At the very least, these women must be allowed to contact their families or a lawyer if they are to be charged with an internationally recognized offense. The record of torturing or mistreating your political opponents has me concerned that these women who were simply practicing their right to protest will be tortured or subject to other ill-treatment.
In this time of great tumult in your country, you might be able to restore a bit of order if you do not systematically target your political opponents. At the very least, you may begin to repair the human rights record of your wavering government. Release these four women unconditionally and immediately and allow them to protest peacefully against a government they fundamentally disagree with.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public Domain Images