Target: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Goal: Locate missing Syrian writer Jihad As’ad Mohamed, and advocate for his safe return to his family.
Syrian writer Jihad As’ad Mohamed was on his way to visit family in a suburb of Damascus, when he disappeared. According to friends, he had been worried about becoming a target of the Syrian government because of his advocacy for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria. Sign this petition to urge the Syrian government to immediately clarify Jihad As’ad Mohamed’s whereabouts, ensure that he is treated fairly and humanely while in custody, and release him immediately if his only crime is the peaceful expression of his own beliefs.
Jihad As’ad Mohamed became a potential target for the Syrian government for two reasons. First, he published a series of articles in 2011 advocating for peaceful reforms and condemning the Syrian government’s violent response to protesters. Second, he participated in an interview with a Russian news channel. The latter incident resulted in his being questioned by State Security forces, and friends say that he has feared for his safety ever since.
Jihad As’ad Mohamed disappeared en route to visit relatives in Dummar, a suburb of Damascus. His phone was turned off not long after he left, and he never reached his destination. He suffers from severe food allergies and must therefore follow a special diet and have access to several medications. Amnesty International fears that if Jihad As’ad Mohamed has indeed been detained by state forces, as unofficial reports have suggested, he is not receiving the medical care he requires.
Do not let the peaceful expression of his beliefs condemn Jihad As’ad Mohamed to a life of sickness and imprisonment. Sign the petition and urge the Syrian government to confirm his whereabouts, respect his human rights, and release him immediately and unconditionally.
I am writing to express my sincere concern over the well-being and whereabouts of Jihad As’ad Mohamed, who has been missing since August 10, 2013. His family and friends, along with international human rights organizations, fear that he has been detained by the Syrian government. If this is the case, I urge you to immediately reveal his whereabouts to his family. Furthermore, I demand that while Jihad As’ad Mohamed remains in custody he is treated in accordance with international human rights standards. Finally–and most importantly–I demand that he be immediately and unconditionally released if his only “crime” is the peaceful expression of his own beliefs.
In 2011, Jihad As’ad Mohamed published a series of articles calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Syria, and criticizing the government’s violent takedown of peaceful protesters. More recently, he gave an interview to a Russian news station, a decision that led to his interrogation by State Security forces.
On the day of his disappearance, Jihad As’ad Mohamed was traveling from Damascus to Dummar to visit relatives. He would have surely encountered or been in the vicinity of government agencies during his journey. His phone was turned off not long after he left, and his relatives in Dummar say he never arrived. He suffers from a number of severe food allergies, and must follow a special diet and take medications to prevent allergic reactions. Many fear that he does not have access to the health care he needs as long as he is being detained.
I urge you to do right by Jihad As’ad Mohamed and his worried family and disclose his whereabouts immediately. Furthermore, I demand that he be released immediately and unconditionally if the sole reason for his detainment is his critique of the government. When a government silences a man who is simply calling for peace, it does not quash dissent–it justifies it. Do not punish Jihad As’ad Mohamed for his beliefs. Do not detain a man who wants an end to violence and bloodshed. Do not deny a Syrian citizen his most basic human rights.
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Photo Credit: anjči via Wikimedia Commons