Target: President Bashar al-Assad
Goal: Ascertain whereabouts of political activist in dire need of medical care
Fa’eq ‘Ali Asa’d, also known as Fa’eq al-Mir, was recently arrested by Syrian security forces. His family has received no information as to his whereabouts or what crime he is being charged with, and it is unclear if al-Mir is receiving the medical attention he requires for a chronic kidney condition. Sign the petition and urge President Bashar al-Assad to immediately inform al-Mir’s family of his whereabouts, to guarantee that his human rights are respected while he remains in custody, and to release him immediately and unconditionally if his only “crime” is his criticism of the government.
Al-Mir left his home in Damascus one morning, telling his family that he planned to be gone for only about an hour. He never returned; instead, a group of about ten armed but un-uniformed men arrived at his home around that time. The men raided the house, confiscating items including electronics, intimidated the family, and stated that al-Mir had been arrested, although they would not say why or where he had been taken. The family told an Amnesty International contact in Damascus that they believe the men “were members of the Syrian security forces.”
Al-Mir has been arrested twice before for peacefully opposing the government. In 1989 he was sentenced to ten years in prison as a result of his political beliefs. He was arrested again in 2006 on the charge of “‘circulating false or exaggerated news which would weaken the morale of the nation’, a charge the Syrian authorities often used to repress dissent,” Amnesty reports. He served two years.
Al-Mir also suffers from hydronephrosis and frequent kidney stones, two conditions “for which he requires medical intervention and regular monitoring.” It is unclear if he is receiving attention for these conditions while in custody.
Jailing someone simply for expressing an opinion that is at odds with government policy is a disgraceful violation of human rights. Sign the petition and urge the immediate release of Fa’eq al-Mir.
I am writing to express my sincere concern for the health and well-being of Fa’eq ‘Ali Asa’d, also known as Fa’eq al-Mir. Al-Mir was arrested on October 7, 2013, and his family has yet to receive word of his whereabouts or be informed of the charges against him. I urge you to immediately provide al-Mir’s family with all the relevant information pertaining to al-Mir’s arrest, and I demand that while he is in custody, he is treated with respect and provided with medical attention for his chronic health conditions. Most of all, I demand that, if the sole charge against al-Mir is his dissenting political beliefs, he be released immediately and unconditionally.
Imprisoning a person based solely on his or her peaceful criticism of the government is a gross violation of human rights. It serves not as an example of a government’s strength and power but of an indication of its fear and weakness. Governments that are in the right need not imprison their critics. Governments that pursue justice do not pluck a man off the street, intimidate his family, raid his home, and hide him from view.
Do the right thing: release al-Mir to his family immediately. In the meantime, ensure that he is provided with any medical care or other resources he may require, that he is safe from torture and ill-treatment, and that his family is informed of his whereabouts.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Aziz1005 via Wikimedia Commons