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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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You are in our thoughts

helen rogers 11 years ago

This man of courage is like the Amnesty candle - a light in the darkness. The upbringing and support he has received from his family must have played a large part in making him the man he has become.
Thoughts are with you.

Sandie 11 years ago

Speaking out is so easy for us - let us hope that one day it will be for you; if so, it will be thanks to you and others like you.

PeteB 11 years ago

Salams my brothers and sisters of Syria and especially the family of Anas.You are all in our prayers, may Allah remove the cruelty, injustice and oppression that has come to your blessed land and may he reunite you all with your loved ones.InshAllah your victory will come soon, you are an inspiration to all of us.

Amjadrahman 11 years ago

You are never alone. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how unimaginable the pain. You are never alone.

gtdsbs 11 years ago

This month the days may get shorter but be assured that the light will triumph.

You are part of the hope for the future.


earlypaper 11 years ago

It's hard for me to come up with words of consolutation, something to help soothe the tremendous pain you must feel in your heart, your soul, but I will try. You must remain strong. You must stay positive and visualize your son returning home to your open arms. You must think this non stop, every day, several times a day. Visualize him being returned home, back to your safety. My love and prayers are with you, though from afar, they are still there by your side. Many others are together with you as well. May your son be returned. May he come home to feel the love of his family, his friends. I will keep Anas in my prayers.

atkins.kimberly9 11 years ago

Asalaamulaikum wa rahmat Ullah my dear dear brothers and sisters

May Allah swt shower you all with mercy and reunite you with your beloved Anas. He truly is a remarkably brave young man!
We pray for him and the countless others like him to be freed from the tyranny and cruelty of the regime. Just like pharaoh the regime will be removed and can never last.
May Allah swt unite you all as a family and as an Ummah.
We pray for you all for sakeena and fat'ha.
With our duas
Wasalaam from UK

nusrat 11 years ago

Courage; you are not alone, the thoughts of many are with you.

Stephen McGrath 11 years ago

You have shown such courage. Stay strong. We are thinking of you. We all long for the cruel regime in Syria to fall and we all hope brave people like you will one day be free.

lorna.fergusson 11 years ago

You are an amazing beacon of strength and hope, Anas. I will say a prayer for you. I hope that wherever you are you will find the strength to keep going, until the day you are free to be reunited with your family. My thoughts are with you too - may love and peace prevail, and keep Anas from harm. Wishing you love, comfort and my utmost support with this message - let's look for the light at the end of the tunnel, as we fight for Anas with our hearts together... Jane xx

Janebutler100 11 years ago

We are trying to find you out safe ASAP, please stay tough, what you did was giving us a lot, we dont lose hope, let keep on fighting for unjustice .

saeko 11 years ago

The world is a better place for having people with the courage and commitment displayed by Anas al-Shogre. I hope and pray that good news comes soon for Anas al-Shogre,his family and Syria.

paulserginson 11 years ago

To all the family of Anas, do not give up hope. Anas peacefully protested for human rights, despite the huge risks that involved. He is an inspiration to me to stand up for rights for all.

juliaBanc 11 years ago

To Anas and your family, be strong, many are thinking of you and share your convictions for justice and fairness. Anas you have shown great courage and I hope you are re-united with your family soon.
You are never alone, nobody can take that away. Stay strong and heartfelt positive thoughts to you all.

silver s 11 years ago

My thoughts are with you all at this terrible time. Anas is a beacon of strength and hope in an oppressive world. You are not alone, the world is watching. I thank Anas for his courage, and for yours. \may you all be reunited soon.

4jave3 11 years ago

Many people around the world are thinking of you and praying for you. We are all holding out hope for the safe return of Anas. Remember that you are not alone.

hazel.barrett 11 years ago

We pray for strength for the family of Anas. Our thoughts are with you at this time. Sometimes it takes a long time for the rest of the world to wake up to support a struggle for freedom and liberty. But eventually it will, and Anas's sacrifices will not be in vain.
Keep strong.

vimal.madhavan 11 years ago

You strength and courage at this difficult time is being supported by thousands around the world. I pray fervently for your safety and speedy release of Anas, a brave young man, peacefully standing up for his rights and beliefs of making this a fairer world to be part of.
We continue to uphold Anas and you, his loving family.

harringtonjacki 11 years ago

Anas courage in the pursuit of freedom is inspiring. So is the strength of his family. You are not alone. Your fight for a fairer world must engage us all.

judithbrown3 11 years ago

Thinking of you from our place of safety and hoping good news will come of this campaign!

AndyGuts 11 years ago

Know that persons with a human heart are suffering with you, although your suffering is greater than we 'free people' can imagine. I hope that these messages of support reach your heart and comfort you in your loneliness and fears, may it bring you hope and courage.

hgschaeffer 11 years ago

Your brave boy is made of the stuff that your country will need to rebuild itself! I hope that he will return as a man who will be equipped to lead. Bless you, be strong.

shepherdess 11 years ago

If everyone in the world were made of the same stuff as is Anas, it would be an immeasurably better place. He is not and will not be forgotten. May he return safely to you.

malcolm.hart 11 years ago

May you gain strength from the all the action, words and prayers from people on every continent. I pledge to do what I can, inshallah, to help you find Anas.

Sue Rigby 11 years ago

May the hope expressed in all these messages join together to persuade his captors to release him, and give you the strength to keep your vigil. When it is time you will be reunited and be a family again, and then we can all give thanks.

jeancoughlan 11 years ago

Holding you all in my heart. As a group this weekend we are sending healing and prayers out to those in need. We will send beautiful energy to yourselves, your son and to the higher selves of his captors to release him on compassionate grounds.

Know that around the world are people united with you as a family

victoriamulhearn 11 years ago

Blessings to Anas and his family. Anas, I hope that somehow you are getting the message that you are not alone in spirit, so many people do care. For Anas' family and closest friends, continue to find hope, strength, and courage to carry forward the mission of having Anas returned to you safely. May those sequestering Anas urgently find within themselves compassion and courage to stop their cruel and destructive campaign of terror, and allow people of Syria to be free and safe.

solunasea 11 years ago

Thinking of Anas and everyone struggling for peace and freedom. I hope he'll be back safe with you soon. Stay brave, strong and positive. You're not alone, we stand with you.

meena.param 11 years ago

I am thinking of and praying for Anas and everyone struggling for peace and freedom. I hope he'll be back safe with you soon. Stay brave, strong and positive. You're not alone, I am standing with you.

Francis Mc Shane 11 years ago

Anas is not forgotten. He is in our thoughts. We are standing with him and his family.

Bookhead 11 years ago

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Anas. Stay strong.

AMP 11 years ago

Anas' courage and selfless determination for better conditions for the people of Syria is awe-inspiring. Anas deserves the highest accolades society has to offer him. The whole world is watchign what Syria does with Anas now. He must return home safely and immedaitely or the whole world will know how far the Syrian government has gone wrong.

olliebarron 11 years ago

Thinking of you and Anas and hoping for the best for you

granny 11 years ago

Anas is an inspiration to many people because of his courage and dedication to justice and freedom. May he return safely to all his family who are in our thoughts.

apartheidwatch 11 years ago

The world is behind Anas and behind you. His courage will inspire others to act in his name and that of the Syrian people. Stay firm and hopeful, for Anas and for Syria.


Michael Graubart 11 years ago

Anas' bravery is an inspiration to us all. We think of him and of his family and all the people of Syria and hope he will come back to you soon, and your suffering will end with a peaceful resolution.

ellenbianchini 11 years ago

Bless Anas, I am hoping with all my heart that he is safely reunited with his family. We will not forget about you Anas.

bingopyjama 11 years ago

I hope that you and your brave family can take some comfort in knowing that you are all in our thoughts at this awful time. Hopefully your sufferings will soon be at an end. Keep the faith.

BARBARA-ANN 11 years ago

I should like to add my support for Anas' brave actions in standing up for the rights of his countrymen, and hope sincerely that he will be reunited safely with his family and friends whose faith has been so sorely tested over the last months. My thoughts are with all Syrians who have been terrorised by the events of the last year, especially Anas and his family.

davidmervynhart 11 years ago

I feel so sorry for Anas and his family. I do hope this Amnesty Action will help to get him reunited with his family. I hope he is safe.
I admire Anas, he is a brave young man.
Love from England

jandtchristopherson 11 years ago

Anas' courage is an inspiration to people around the world. My thoughts are with him and his family.

Bookworm699 11 years ago

Keep strong. Keep hoping and know the support of the world is with you. Much admiration to Anas, for his courage and doing what most fear to do. The world needs more strong, peaceful men like him.

Much love to and hope from the UK to Anas and his family,

jblaxby 11 years ago

As the mother of a 13 year old boy I feel for you deeply. I hope your son is soon in touch with you. I'm pleased that Amnesty is helping you and that you're not alone in your struggle. Wishing you All the Best Carolyn Phillips United Kingdom xx

Carolyn58 11 years ago

I hope you hear from son soon, you are in my and my families thoughts. Nicola

nicola_89 11 years ago

I am sending thoughts of support to Anas and his family. I hope you will all be reunited very soon. Anas must be a very brave man to stand up for his and his fellow Syrians rights. Wish you all the best. Belinda

belinda_1 11 years ago

Sending the family of this brave young man lots of blessings , I will be thinking of you all

princessjackson 11 years ago

Thinking about this brave man and hoping for his release soon.

anndear35_1 11 years ago

My thoughts are with this brave and inspirational young man and his family.

Judy Aliferis

judy_4 11 years ago

Hoping that Anas al_Shogre will be found and returned safely to his family soon. Thinking of you all.

annief 11 years ago