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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

I hope this message of support will be of some consolation to you and will somehow help Anas.

Melissa4119 9 years ago

Anas, thinking of you, your family and the people of Syria - may you all know freedom and peace soon.

hkcapstick 9 years ago

Anas is the future of Syria - a brave intelligent young man in the face of an shortsighted evil regime that would subject its civilians to such atrocities. My sympathy for the family of Anas and their deep despair which I pray will be lifted.

eleanor.coffey 9 years ago

Another Night, And Syria's Atrocities, its Shameful Human Oppression's Got to Rapidly End. Keep on believing.

markituck 9 years ago

Another Night, And Syria's Atrocities, its Litany of Shameful Human Oppression's Got to Rapidly End. Keep on believing.

markituck 9 years ago

You will not be forgotten.

jks56 9 years ago

Anas is a brave and honourable young man. Thinking of you and hoping for his safe return.

Tina 9 years ago

Anas, you have taken the path of courage - a difficult and lonely one. But, you are not alone, because, Anas, ordinary people from all around the world are thinking of you right now, and now, and now. May your family, and all those ordinary people around the world who care about you, draw strength from your uncompromising speaking of the truth to power. Bless you and your family.

sumontague 9 years ago

Thoughts and support go to Anas and his family. Stay strong. And hoping for his safe return.

Bridget32 9 years ago

Thinking of you. I hope you will have news of your brave son soon.
Best wishes.

rosie25 9 years ago

Thinking of Anas and his family, we commend your bravery and stand with you in solidarity. Continue to be strong in your search for truth.

Barbara Blaney 9 years ago

The Syrian authorities may have tried to forget you, Anas, but the rest of the world won't now that Amnesty are campaigning for you. We will keep it up until you are released.

Hold fast to your hearts.

Maggie

MaggieL 9 years ago

Keep your spirit Anas, you're a really brave guy and the world needs more people like you. I hope that you will be reunited with your family soon.

spanglerosa 9 years ago

Sending my best wishes and support and urging others to take action as we here have. My thoughts are with you.

ChristineW 9 years ago

Thinking of you, Anas al-Shogri, and hoping you will soon be released. Syria should be proud to count such a brave man as a citizen.

marianina 9 years ago

Anas, thinking of you and your family, may you all know freedom and peace soon. Please know you are not alone, stay strong.

linmcshane 9 years ago

Brave, brave man. The world needs more people like you. To your family, stay strong and keep fighting for him.

hsr1333 9 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You are a very brave human being. I agree with the other person who said that Syria should be proud to have one such as you as a citizen who will stand up for others.

mbwill 9 years ago

Such courage in the face of this relentless brutality.....I hope that you and your family can keep your spirit and hope alive and that you'll be reunited soon.

haybohan 9 years ago

You did the right thing. Find the courage to see it through.

John Hilton 9 years ago

Your months of anxiety concerning the disappearance of Anas al_Shogre must be agonising. I simply want o offer my sincere sympathy, and will help press for information on his whereabouts.

David Rands 9 years ago

May the support of thousands across the globe bring you some comfort at this time of anguish and desperation.

barbc 9 years ago

I feel humbled by the courage shown by your son and other Syrians in the face of such inhumanity. I hope so much that you find Anas and that until then, you gain strength from each other to endure what must surely be the most painful of times.

vivienedwards 9 years ago

Anas' courage, and yours as you continue to look and fight for him, is a true witness to the good within humanity. I pray that Anas' light and your will shine brightly in the darkness of Syria and help bring a new dawn. I will pray with you and call with you for Anas' release and for peace and reconciliation in your nation.
Rachel, England

rachie103 9 years ago

I admire such courage and I hope very much for the release of Anas and for people of goodwill to prevail over tyrants.

David Lonsdale 9 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you and with Anas'. Against the size of the worry you are holding, I can do so little except cry with you and send my love to you all, and that I do in abundance. As more and more people hear of your sons courage and generosity, the power of love gathers strongly around you; around him. May you soon be embracing each other with joy and freedom.

Mark Dunton 9 years ago

I am inspired by hearing of Anas and his courage in the face of tyranny. May he be reunited with his family very soon. They are, no doubt, hugely proud of him.

squigs13 9 years ago

Be strong Anas. Your strength and courage will see you through to a better world where you belong.

mlocngu 9 years ago

I hope you can be strong. Your son is so very brave and this will be rewarded.

jashby5035 9 years ago

Wherever you are stay strong and know we are with you in spirit.

info_212 9 years ago

Standing with you. Have strength and courage.

Lindy Lou 9 years ago

The right of a human to speak up for his truth and the rights of his countryman to free speech is an intrinsic part of being human/e

jan_helle 9 years ago

Anas, you are a very brave and inspirational man. You are in our thoughts and we hope you'll soon be free.

Julie Grisi 9 years ago

in such difficult times, words seem meaningless but i just wanted to express my deepest sympathy with you and i hope your loved one will return to you safely. Alun

alunthomas 9 years ago

You're not alone.Be strong and believe xx

lynneturner 9 years ago

Just to let you know that I'm thinking of you here in Scotland.
I hope you will be free soon and your fight for justice will be realised. Liane x

lilafairy 9 years ago

what a courageous man, thinking of you stay strong!!

heyesemma22 9 years ago

Hoping and praying for Anas.

gurning4eternity 9 years ago

May you all be united soon

alaninhisgarden 9 years ago

My thoughts are with you and your family. Be strong and believe that the nightmare will end soon. The world is watching and listening. Please don't lose heart.

jessgrant 9 years ago

Brave people like Anas are the salt of the earth. I pray that you may soon hear some news of him. Be strong like him - it is not easy but you will win through at the end.

Norman

Norman How 9 years ago

I admire your courage Anas to speak out for freedom and justice. May you soon be reunited with your family.
Ron

ronald.gunstone 9 years ago

Anas stood up for many. Now we are standing up for him.

CReinh5s 9 years ago

I can't imagine having to cope with such terrible injustices. I don't think I would and am overwhelmed with admiration for you and people fighting for freedom taking such great risks. I am living in a different world but my thoughts and deepest sympathies are with you and hope that in some way that helps.

beccabolam 9 years ago

Anas is a brave individual suffering at the hands of a brutal regime. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. My son is only a year older than Anas and I cannot imagine him going through what Anas is going through.

annie.holles 9 years ago

I live in a country where one can peacefully demonstrate without fear of brutal retaliation I truly hope that your country will one day experience that.

mary.bowes 9 years ago

Be strong and courageous, we stand in solidarity with you and Anas. I pray that you are reunited soon

suemcquay 9 years ago

It is the hardest thing in the world, to not know where someone is when you love and cherish them. Anas has shown such great courage, you must have enabled him to be this courageous. I pray that he will be set free and that your struggle will prevail.

Mouse Brown 9 years ago

I have tremendous admiration for your courage.

tomreid 9 years ago

I hope and pray that Anas will be returned to you safely very soon. His courage and his desire to do what he believed to be right are so inspiring to many and his actions will never have been in vain. I hope that as a result of the action of Anas and others like him, those who have taken him will learn to respect the lives and rights other human beings. He is part of a shining light in the world where more and more of us are connected in ways we never imagined in the past. We can make a change in this sometimes dark world, especially with people like Anas to call us higher and convict us of the need to fight peacefully for justice. May God bless your family powerfully. Love and humble respect to you all.

natforsyth 9 years ago