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Syria: Child held incommunicado

Ahmed Ismael al-‘Akkad, a sixteen-year-old Syrian boy has been held in detention since 20 November 2012.  He suffers from chronic Asthma   and has allegedly been ill-treated and denied medical treatment.

The child was arrested when the authorities raided the al-Midan neighbourhood in Damascus on 20 November 2012. Following his arrest it is not known where he was taken and his family say that the authorities  failed to provide them with information about his arrest and current detention.  To date the family have not approached the authorities to ask for information about his whereabouts are they are too afraid

However, forty days after his arrest, Ahmed Ismael al- ‘Akkad’s  family received a written note  from him detailing his whereabouts and detention conditions.  The note which was smuggled out by detainees released from the Palestine branch, a military intelligence-run detention centre notorious for torture, clearly indicates that the child is being held at the same detention centre and that his health was deteriorating due to a lack of medication for his asthma and the cramped and humid conditions at the prison.

The reason for the child’s arrest is unclear.  However, what is clear is that the Syrian government forces have arrested thousands of people, including children, since widespread unrest broke out in March 2011.  Many of the detainees have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment in prisons and detention centres across the country run by Syria’s feared security agencies. Over 1,000 people are reported to have died in custody since then.

Please write immediately in English, Arabic or your own language to the authorities expressing concerns about the detention and treatment of Ahmed Ismael al- ‘Akkad.

Please send appeals before 7 June 2013 using sample letter below.

Bashar al-Assad        
Fax: 00963 11 332 3410 (keep trying)
(fax/phone line – say "Fax") (Fax is the only reliable communication method; please do not send letters)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Defence
‘Imad al-Fraij
Fax: 00963 11 223 7842 (keep trying)
00963 11 666 2460 (keep trying)
(fax/phone line – say "Fax")
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Walid al-Mu’allim        
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic        
Fax: 00963 11 214 6253 (keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency


Your Excellency

I am writing to express my concern at the detention and treatment of 16-year-old Ahmed Ismael al- ‘Akkad, who was arrested on 20 November 2012 in the al-Midan neighbourhood in Damascus.

I urge you to reveal the whereabouts  and fate of Ahmed Ismael al ‘Akkad and grant him immediate access to his family and lawyer.  I urge you to ensure that he is protected from torture, and that he is given all necessary medical care, including any medication he needs to control his asthma.

I urge you to clarify Ahmed Ismael al- ‘Akkad’s legal status, and if indeed he is being held solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and assembly, then he should be released immediately and unconditionally.

I implore you to ensure that he is treated in accordance with human rights standards outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and within the rules of criminal justice, which include the principle that detention must be a measure of last resort and children in detention should be held separately from Adults in facilities that meet the particular needs of children in custody.



Yours truly,

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