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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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Standing with you and your family in solidarity at this difficult time. I am in awe of Anas' courage and bravery and willingness to stand up for basic freedoms. I sincerely hope you are reunited soon.

hanclayton 11 years ago

I pray for peace in Syria soon and for a government of fairness and integrity

M.Nicholson 11 years ago

'Evil wins when good men do nothing'.

Anas is a good man who has done so much.

The world stands in solidarity with him and his family.

Debbo 11 years ago

Anas is one of the heroes who is changing the world. We will see him free. And we will see truth and justice prevail.

Ned Ludd 11 years ago

Cannot imagine what you are going through as a family. All my thoughts and prayers are with you in hope that you will soon be reunited with your brave son.

TeriB 11 years ago

I hope that you will be realeased soon. My thoughts are with you and your family. Remember, after every difficulty there lies a reward...

jalisah12 11 years ago

Sending you best wishes and hoping that you and your son are reunited very soon. People like him inspire Amnesty supporters worldwide to continue to campaign for freedom and the protection of human rights.

helen_22 11 years ago

I send my sympathy to the family and friends of Anas but cannot imagine the torment you must be suffering by not knowing his whereabouts or his situation. You must be as brave as Anas and gain strength to endure your pain until he returns home.
Anas is admired all over the world for his strength and courage because he was not afraid to speak out on human rights violations.
I wish you peace. I wish Syria peace. I wish Anas peace and a safe return home soon.

jodan 11 years ago

May Anas al-Shogre be safely reunited with his family.

hpauls2010 11 years ago

I send you my best wishes and sincerely hope that you will soon be reunited with Anas. He is a man of great courage and integrity.
You are all in my thoughts during these difficult times. Please be assured that you are not forgotten and that many, many people throughout the world support you and salute Anas and all his fellow citizens who are speaking out for justice and freedom in Syria.

hazelerrey 11 years ago

sending best wishes for you all at this most diffiult of times

donnamac 11 years ago

We all stand in solidarity, and offer our love and support. You are not forgotten, progress will be made.

Preacher_Man 11 years ago

As a father, I hope you are reunited with your son soon, and that peace comes to Syria. We won't forget Anas and the cause he stands for. Much love and solidarity to Anas's family and friends.

martyb 11 years ago

Thinking of and praying for you. Very best wishes for your son and for Syria.With sympathy and admiration. Kate

Kate Taylor 11 years ago

We are all thinking of you. We hope so much that Anas will come home soon. Stay strong. You are in our hearts and prayers.

amdent18 11 years ago

Thinking of you and your family. May you soon go home.

Gillee 11 years ago

My heart goes out to you. Be strong, have faith, he will come home.

Henry Warren 11 years ago

you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers

CM 11 years ago

My thoughts are with you - in solidarity, Richard

richardberks 11 years ago

my thoughts are with you and your family - stay strong we are all behind you. zoe.

zoefischer11 11 years ago

Your son is a hero - role model for all Arab youth. Inshallah ya rabb he'll make it back home

smamin1991 11 years ago

I wish you, your family and friends strength in this very difficult time. Please know that you are not alone.

Storm 11 years ago

Thinking of you.

suedumpleton 11 years ago

There's a world out there thinking of you. Stay brave!

ALejeune 11 years ago

Such courage. May you be safe and stay brave.

JulieL 11 years ago

Dear Family of Anas. There are many that have mobilised to help your son/brother/cousin/father. Be strong.

jaijayaraman 11 years ago

Our prayers are with your family as you keep fighting to seek the truth about what happened to Anas. May you find comfort and hope in the support you have from all around the world.

Molly Arrow 11 years ago

May you find courage where you are in the support of friends, family and others around the world.

JonAI 11 years ago

You are all in our thoughts. Sending you strength to survive this heart-breaking situation. You and Anas are not forgotten.

pipbest1 11 years ago

I am thinking of you. Be strong.

rosvernon 11 years ago

Bullies are the same the world over and must be challenged by good people - his actions show that Anas is a good person and that cannot be changed. He is greater than all of the bullies that torment his country.


mchugho 11 years ago

Anas is an inspiration for standing up for what he believed is wrong. Now we around the world must do the same for him. We are all behind you and Anas, and thinking of you all.

Elinor 11 years ago

To you the beautiful family of Anas, I know that you will be feeling lost and powerless right now but be assured that our God is in control and He will be in the prison with Anas and with you in your homes. It is when we are weak and at our lowest that God comes to us in a very real way and He is our strength and comfort.
You are not alone, you are in my prayers and the prayers of many thousands across this world of our.
May the peace of God that passeth all understanding give you rest at this most stressful time for you all.
God bless you. Stephen Lion........

Mr Stephen John Ashmore 11 years ago

You are all so brave. I am hoping Anas will be found soon.

mabukkit 11 years ago

I am thinking of you and send a message of support. I hope that Anas will be found soon.

Mace 11 years ago

I cannot imagine how terrible it is for you not to know where your beautiful son is. I am thinking of you and of him. The world is lucky to have such brave people. Sent with love.

lnscott133 11 years ago

To the family of Anas, your son looks like an Angel. Did you know what the meaning of his name is?: name Anas is 'Pleasant companionship, friendliness'. It is evident from his picture that Anas is deep down a gentle soul. Keep your prayers and thoughts for Anas in a high vibration and imagine he is surrounded in Gods light and protection at all times. I always pray to Archangel Michael also for protection and also Archangel Raphael for healing.

He was very brave to stand up for righteousness and Jesus would have been proud. I pray that he is found and released and kept safe and pray that those inprisoning him get filled with the love and light of Jesus especially at Christmas time. Believe this with all your heart and know that it will be done!! Dont lose faith!

goldlight7 11 years ago

I really hope that you find your son soon, I can't imagine what it must feel like for you, you are so brave.

kristen.buckle 11 years ago

I can't imagine my own son doing anything so courageous. You must be so proud of Anas. I just hope and hope that you will soon have him back with you, safe and well.

anniepaine 11 years ago

I wish you courage and strength and justice and freedom, from Cristine Ferguson, Orkney, Scotland, UK

cristineforkney 11 years ago

May the New Year bring Anas home to you. I have a son and my heart goes out to you in your time of trouble.

rosRH 11 years ago

I really hope that Anas comes home next year. He is such a brave man. Sending you strength and solidarity.

EmBrom 11 years ago

Your son, Anas has not been forgotten, he is a very brave man. Please know that you and Anas are in our thoughts. I hope it is not long before your struggle is over and he is safely back with you. Keep strong.

Skyeliz 11 years ago

The bravery and self-sacrifice shown by Anas humbles us all. He and you his family are constantly in my thoughts and I fervently hope for the day when justice will prevail and he returns to you safely.

Margaret Walmsley 11 years ago