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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. 

 

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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

Anas, My thoughts are with you. I stand by you in solidarity. Stay strong. Millie

MillieE 9 years ago

You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. May peace come to syria soon.

helenwalker582 9 years ago

Anas and your family, you are in my thoughts. Let us hope and work for your freedom and for a just peace in Syria

Grodski 9 years ago

Me and my family all wish for Anas to be released and stand by you all at this difficult time

anwenandandy 9 years ago

My thoughts are with you and I stand by you. Stay strong.

nijnat68 9 years ago

Your bravery is a lesson to us all. I support you and all you stand for in your quest for freedom and justice.

MSF 9 years ago

If I could visit you now, I would, to sit with you at this difficult time and join you in hoping for a happy solution for you all.

Peter Ovens 9 years ago

Your son and brother is very brave. I truly hope he is returned to you safely, if there is any justice in the world then he will.

philltee 9 years ago

Your courage is remarkable.

andyhevans 9 years ago

My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. I will always support and stand by you. Please believe that one day your brave and beautiful son will be free. Stay strong xxx

jen_322 9 years ago

It is hard to imagine your pain but I hope you can stay strong and remember that many of us are thinking of you and hoping with you that the future will be better and the suffering will end.

Marilyn S 9 years ago

You are not forgotten. I hope you are reunited, in safety, soon.

piano888 9 years ago

The world is watching. You are not alone.

MartinFirrell 9 years ago

How brave you are. We have no idea just how difficult things must be in Syria but many of us admire your courage. I don't know how I would react in a similar situation but I hope I would be willing to speak out. You are in my thoughts.

Jeanway 9 years ago

I hope Anas comes home to you soon, and all of his courage pays off. Praying for you.

callaghanhelen 9 years ago

I know I could never be as brave as you. The thought of physical torture makes me feel sick. I admire your courage more than I can find the words to express. May your spirit not be broken by these evil cowards, and you survive to live happily with your loved ones again some day.

bruce.waite 9 years ago

I hope so much that you will be reunited with your son. Thinking of you in your tine of pain. Believe in our thoughts and suport

papastamatiouc 9 years ago

I can only imagine how distressing this must be for you as Anas' family. Many people are thinking of you, and like me will be faxing letters to the President of Syria demanding information on Anas.

sue.done 9 years ago

I can't believe in the bravery of Anas and people like him. It's people like him who give us all hope. Please God he will be safely returned to his family

jeremy.cushing 9 years ago

I can't believe in the bravery of Anas and people like him. It's people like him who give us all hope. Please God he will be safely returned to his family

jeremy.cushing 9 years ago

Dear Anas, my family and I are thinking of you at this terrible time and praying for your safe return. Please believe that you are not alone.
With love and best wishes from Scotland.

gemmce 9 years ago

Dear Anas my thoughts and prayers are with you, please remember that people across the world care about you.
Jane
England

leachjanea 9 years ago

I hope your beautiful, brave son is returned to you safely and soon. Syria, and others like your son, are always in our thoughts. With love

lesleyvine 9 years ago

My thoughts are with you. I salute Anas' bravery and hope that he will be reunited with you soon. I hope that with increasing and unrelenting demands on the Syrian government for information on Anas and the other brave men and women alongside him, we will get answers.

Headenj 9 years ago

Dear Anas
Do not give up hope. The world is watching and there are many people who support you. May your dreams come real.

B Lim 9 years ago

As a mother of 3 sons my heart goes out to you. Stay strong and one day the Syrian people will be free.

CarolineMW 9 years ago

Your son has been very brave, and we hope and pray for his safe return to you.

juliedavy10 9 years ago

Anas - Your bravery and conviction has been tested and you have stood up to the test. I hope all of us will have the same strength you have shown if called for. Have courage- Good will always triumph. We are with you.

kannan.athreya 9 years ago

To Anas and Family, No-one is truly free until we are all free. We in the United Kingdom stand with you in your quest for freedom. John Watkinson.

John Watkinson 9 years ago

Your courage and determination are worth fighting for. I hope you will all be reunited very soon.

belarusse 9 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Anas. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through, but I am sure that you must be proud of what he has done. Be brave, be strong - we are all with you.

Rich Avery 9 years ago

Only with people like you Anas can the world become a better place. Your braveness is an inspiration and we are thinking of you from Bristol, UK.

sarahmoody 9 years ago

As a mother too, I can not imagine what you are feeling now. I wish you courage. Your beautiful son stood strong for what is right, he will be an inspiration to young and old across the world. I hope he is returned speedily to you.

Lovely Sharon 9 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are not alone

eagle spits 9 years ago

Anas' actions are so brave and have helped to bring the attention of the world to Syria. With hope and love, and wishing for his safe return. Matt, London

matthewk 9 years ago

I hope you find out where he is soon. You have a lot of support . Stay strong.
Barbara UK

sbmarriott 9 years ago

My family are thinking of your son and hoping he returns to you soon
Morgan Kelly, England

Kelly_2 9 years ago

Keep on hoping. The world is watching and there are many people on your side.

Cathy R 9 years ago

Dear Anas al-Shogre: I am writing simply to give my solidarity and to say that we in UK will not forget your bavery. Please take heart, and we hope for your quick release from where ever you are being held.

Yours sincerely and in solidarity

Chris Easton

ChrisE 9 years ago

I will pray for you tonight Anas. I pray you are soon reunited with your family. Love is always stronger than hate, many of us stand with you in solidarity. I pray you are safe.
Clare

cehearty 9 years ago

Keep strong and remember there are thousands of people across the world who are thinking of you. Syria will be free.

gf 9 years ago

To Anas,s family
This such a worrying time for you. Please be strong. I am sure he will return to you soon. You are not alone. Many people around the world are sending prayers and positive thoughts to you and him.
Scilla

priscillawest 9 years ago

Anas and your lovely family - you are in my prayers this day. Just the idea of torture appalls me and I feel for you all in my heart. I believe that with Amnesty's help you will be free soon.

r.theobalds 9 years ago

Our prayers are with you and your brave son.

rebeccabarnes5 9 years ago

I just want to say how much I admire the courage that Anas has repeatedly showed. He is an incredible young man and I truly believe he will be back home soon. Sending you much love and strenght

marty.fabianova 9 years ago

Not many people would have the courage that Anas showed in stepping up and speaking out for what is right. Anas is an inspiration, not just in Syria but throughout the world. I dearly hope that he is back with you soon, and that this nightmare is ended for you. Liz, Belfast

wattersonelizabeth 9 years ago

Anas Al-Shogre we will stand for you, just keep your faith and strength in meantime we act. Feel, please, that we are all with you.
Soon you will be free at least because they know that the world is with you.
Feel strong with our solidarity.

JonathanReych 9 years ago

Thinking of you, the family of Anas, and all the people of Syria. Freedom will triumph, as long as there are brave people like Anas in the world.

Christopher Hall 9 years ago

Although a fellow student journalist, I cannot even imagine what Anas and your family must be going through. I truly hope this campaign brings to light his whereabouts and that he returns home safely. I'll be writing an article about this for my own university to raise publicity.

chazbc 9 years ago

Thinking of you and your family - you are not forgotten and not alone.

hmt24 9 years ago