Syria disappeared: Where is Anas al-Shogre?

Update 1 January 2013: Write for Rights has now ended, and this action has closed. 

A huge thank you to everybody who left a message of support for Anas's family, we were bowled over by your response. We are gathering the messages together and will get them to Anas's family in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, thank you again for taking the time to leave such thoughtful messages. If you haven't seen them, read the messages now

Anas al-Shogre has been detained incommunicado since May 2011. His family do not know where he is, they fear for his safety and wellbeing. Omar Assil, leading member of the Syrian Non Violence Movement, reflects on Anas' bravery and the situation in Syria. 

Anas al-Shogre Deadly clashes in Syria have become so common that news of yet another arrest, disappearance or attack on protestors by security forces often fails to make it to the front pages of international media. I know only too well the risks involved in taking part in peaceful protest. 
 
Before arriving in the UK in September 2011, I took part in several demonstrations in Damascus. I always managed to avoid arrest, but witnessed first-hand the brutal treatment protesters were subjected to at the hands of police and security forces. Brutality that began just minutes in to the peaceful protests.

One of the many Syrians who were not so lucky is Anas al-Shogre. He has been detained and denied communication with the outside world since the night of 14 May 2011, when he was arrested in Banias, Syria. The authorities have not said where he is being held and have not revealed the reasons for his arrest.

But it isn’t that hard to imagine. Anas was one of many who called for anti-government protests in Banias, right at the beginning of the uprising. He bravely led the protests and reported on them for the international media – including BBC Arabic. He exposed the human rights violations being committed by the Syrian authorities in the city. Anas’s family and local human rights activists believe that this is why he was arrested, and I am inclined to agree with them. 
 
Tortured and imprisoned for speaking out
 
The people at Amnesty are worried. They think that Anas could be a prisoner of conscience - detained for peacefully expressing his views. They also fear that Anas has been tortured. Given the testimonies collected in their report this seems highly likely. 
 
Anas has almost certainly experienced the horrific methods of systematic torture that have become so commonplace following the massive wave of arrests taken place during the Syrian uprising, torture meted out by the Syrian government, security forces and ‘shabiha’ gangs.. The treatment of detainees is so violent that many have said to me they wished that they had died before the ‘shabiha’ gangs had got their hands on them.
 
Standing in defiance on the streets of Syria
 
Despite the huge danger, Syrians have not given up. Many of my friends who got arrested are back on the streets protesting the same day they are let out of prison. They are peacefully standing up for their human rights, in defiance against the Syrian regime. And they do so in the name of those who now can’t and who paved the ground for this defiance. People like Anas. 
 
"He is so brave. The thing that makes Anas distinct from other people is his courage" - Anas's brother Ibrahim al-Shogre.
 
Messages from people around the world can be a great source of hope for families in situations like this. You can stand in solidarity with Anas and send a message of support to his family by adding a comment below. Our friends at Amnesty will ensure that your message reaches them. 

 

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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294 comments

Really moved hearing about Anas' story. With all the awful news we hear about the events in Syria, it is sometimes hard to remember the personal stories. Here is one family, not knowing what has happened to their son/brother/friend. Struggling each day with that uncertainty.

I send you my best wishes. Please stay strong in your struggle for justice. You are not alone in your fight.
Karen, London

km 4 years ago

Dear all
You are in my thoughts and in the thoughts of many more. I bow down to your courage and send you my best wishes.
Sophie, Edinburgh

Holdyourteddyclose 4 years ago

God bless you and give you his peace my brave warrior x

tricia.hillier2 4 years ago

Anas is so brave. We hope that the thoughts of others in the world will comfort you and that your country and its people will soon know peace.

eilie 4 years ago

People all over the world know of your struggle, and we join together to wish you strength, hope and peace.

x Sinajina

sinajina 4 years ago

Anas al-Shogre, fights for what we believe it's right! Stay strong

1lov.tm 4 years ago

With best wishes from Wales, UK

e.i.morley 4 years ago

Our best wishes from London UK for brave Anas al-Shogre.Amnesty will fight in solidarity for your release.

Jennifer and Keith Roberts, Lawyer and Architect.

jennifer_574 4 years ago

I have read of Anas' bravery in standing up and leading his fellow citizens' in their peaceful campaign for their human rights, and I pray that he will be safely returned to his family. You are not alone.

nenek 4 years ago

I pray that Anas will soon be returned home safe and well. You are not alone and have many friends who are supporting you. God be with you.

flowerpot 4 years ago

I send Anas my good wishes and will continue to support him. Pat.

Mrs Pat 4 years ago

Dear Anas

I have the deepest respect for your bravery and commitment in speaking out for human rights in your country and hope that you will soon be released.
Stay strong - we are working for your freedom.

Cathy Adkins, Amnesty International Frome, UK

meep51 4 years ago

Stay strong. You are amazing. My 6 year old son said you look like a kind man. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you x

JEM76 4 years ago

I pray that we can all be so brave and self-less to speak out about the crimes that are be committed against our fellow citizens human rights, and not strike out violently against those that oppress you.
You are an inspiration to those suffering a similar plight and a source of hope to people across the world.
Know that you are not alone, our thoughts and prayers are with you; as well as our unwavering support for your cause and your deliverance from the injustice you suffer.

Beth07lo 4 years ago

Dear Anas,

Thank you for being so courageous in an intolerable situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

mbwill 4 years ago

I would like you to know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. I wish that I could be so brave, you truly are an inspiration. You are not alone, there are many people around the world supporting your cause and fighting for your justice.
Stay strong and God be with you.
Amber Grisetti, York, UK

ambrosia110 4 years ago

I hope this message can be an encouragement for you all and show my support of the bravery of Anas.
It is such an inspiration for me to hear of all the individuals standing up for a better, more peaceful world.
Stay strong.
Alice

alidonaldson 4 years ago

Anas, you are a wonderful and brave person and are in my any many people's thoughts and hearts across the world.
You and your family have my admiration and my very strong hope that you will be released soon.
Thank you for standing up for your fellow citizens.
Samantha

tankgrrrrl 4 years ago

Anas, you are an amazing and courageous person. My thoughts are with you and your family and friends. Stay strong.

j.h 4 years ago

Anas, the voice of Truth can never be silenced even when sung by one brave person against the chorus of many. Eventually all the 'One Voices' will join together in the chorus. Love and support to you and your family.

Alaine Eadie 4 years ago

Amazingly courageous Anas - I do hope you can one day soon receive these messages of support. You are not forgotten and I sincerely hope you will be reunited with your family again soon. Love and support to you and to your family.

Wynnaki 4 years ago

I really admire your courage and all the work you have been doing for the citizens of Syria.. I feel a little personal connection here as I visited Syria a few years ago and I was treated just like a member of the family.I hope are being treated correctly by the authorities and have proper legal support. Take courage that many people know of your situation.

ambalanga 4 years ago

Having the courage of ones convictions is an extremely difficult path to choose . I trust Anas and his family finds some comfort knowing Amnesty stands beside him and people worldwide are with him in spirit . Heartfelt greetings and good wishes to one and all from
Barbara Murphy-Bridge, Nova Scotia, Canada

crowsnest 4 years ago

Dear Anas
I pray for freedom and protection and liberation for you. For comfort and courage. You are not forgotten and we stand with you and your brothers and sisters as you fight for justice.
Tamsin, UK

tamsin carter 4 years ago

Dear Anas,
We are thinking of you and hope for your safety. Be strong as there are many who are with you in their hearts.
Karen, Neil, Daniel, Lola, Raphael, Uk

karenschumacher 4 years ago

Dear Anas,
Hang in there. Not long now.

meghansmith 4 years ago

Dear Anas. I add my voice to all the messages of support. Stay strong, you are not forgotten. Coral. UK

Just C 4 years ago

I am thinking of you and hoping you are safe and well. Stay strong.

Eileen Dale 4 years ago

Our thoughts are with you and your family and friends. Hoping you are safe and well. Stay strong--you are not forgotten. With admiration and best wishes, Laurie S. and Gavin B., USA

clavicytherium 4 years ago

Anas deserves praise for his bravery and for the work he was doing.I pray to God to keep him well and bring him back home to you soon. May you have peace in Syria

petrina 4 years ago

My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Stay strong, you have many supporters around the world with so much respect for your courage and strength. There is always hope!
Your friend in Ireland, Christine

cturley120 4 years ago

You are not forgotten. Please stay strong. You are admired all over the world for your courage.

Wishing you peace in Syria

Lizc 4 years ago

You and Anas are in my thoughts and prayers. I send you my warmest wishes for the future.

NDA 4 years ago

We are thinking of you and praying for you. You are not forgotten. Stay strong. Wishing you peace, justice and love at this difficult time.

Jomo 4 years ago

I pray that you will be reunited soon. God be with you. Hilary

h@hilarynaughton.plus.com 4 years ago

You are in our thoughts and prayers, stay strong. Roisin

roisinconway_1 4 years ago

We are thinking of you and hoping that you will soon be released. You have a lovely family and people around the world are lobbying for your release

Stay strong

BizzieLizzieMC 4 years ago

You are in my thoughts. Please stay strong.

Joyous253 4 years ago

Anas, we are thinking of you. We stand with you - you are not forgotten.

carolynjess 4 years ago

Anas, you are so brave. I think of you. Stay strong

Annelt 4 years ago

I am thinking of you and all those who love you. I hope you can stay hopeful, even in the face of such hardship.

AnnieHall 4 years ago

You are an inspiration. I am thinking of you, your friends and family. Stay strong while we work for your release.

David

Spindrift 4 years ago

I am thinking of you, and your family, and your bravery and strength inspires me so much. So much love,
Verity

vezzak 4 years ago

I have just written to the authorities, urging them to think of the mental anguish of your family. Hoping to hear news of your safe return to their embrace very soon. Sending you strength and hope.
Nadege

Nadege 4 years ago

Have faith, the world knows Anas al-Shogre's name. Kindest wishes from Scotland.

Hill Shepherd 4 years ago

Bless you and your family. Do not lose hope. God is with you. Love and prayers.

philomena.ewing 4 years ago

Dear Anas, I am deeply concerned for you. I truly admire you and I regard you very highly. I hope you will be released very soon. Gaia Petri.

gaia.petri7 4 years ago

Anas - Thinking of you and standing by you in solidarity. Sending love and light from the United Kingdom

hege 4 years ago

Thinking of Anas and family. I've written to demand that Anas be released straight away. Gina Moriarty

reginamoriarty 4 years ago

Dear Anas, as well as your family and friends:

Even here, at a university in cold Yorkshire, miles and miles away, people are thinking of you and praying for you. This is an extremely difficult time for you all, but stay strong - the world is on your side.

lexysylviahudson 4 years ago