Urgent action required.

This is from Amnesty's urgent action team. Please read. Thanks.

Billy Briggs.

www.billybriggs.co.uk 

 

SYRIAN KURD DISAPPEARS, RISKS TORTURE 

SYRIA 

Berzani Karro, who is 20, is now known to have been arrested at 
Damascus airport on 27 June. His father has since made numerous 
inquiries with the Syrian authorities about his son's fate and 
whereabouts, including at a number of detention centres and 
prisons around the country, but they have denied holding him in 
their custody. One State Security officer in the predominantly 
Kurdish north-eastern town where he lives, Amouda, told his father 
that his family name alone was enough to have led to him being 
arrested: an uncle with the same family name is a prominent member 
of the outlawed Kurdish Left Party of Syria (al-Hizb al-Yasari al-
Kurdi fi Suria), and now lives in exile in Sweden.  
Berzani Karro had left Syria in October 2006 and travelled to 
Cyprus, where he applied for asylum. His application was rejected 
and he was arrested in September 2008, on the grounds that he had 
no legal right to remain in the country. He was detained in 
Larnaca prison until he was returned to Syria. Cypriot officials 
escorted him on the plane, and handed him over to the Syrian 
authorities at Damascus airport. They first allowed him to make 
one phone call to his family, in which he told them he was about 
to be taken to the al-Fayha Political Security Branch in Damascus. 
Political Security is one of several branches of the security 
forces operating in Syria, all of which regularly detain 
individuals on even the slightest suspicion of opposition to the 
regime. Kurds in Syria are particularly vulnerable to prolonged 
arbitrary detention as well as torture and other ill-treatment. 
Berzani Karro had been arrested in Amouda on 15 January 2005, when 
he was 15. He was held for around two and a half months, for at 
least some of the time in the Military Intelligence-run Palestine 
Branch detention centre, where detainees are regularly tortured. 
He was accused of attending an unauthorized demonstration and 
destroying state property, including a statue of the president. 
His family say he was at home at the time of the protest. At the 
Palestine Branch, he was subjected to the dulab (the tyre), 
whereby he was forced through a car tyre suspended from the 
ceiling and beaten. There were 10 others detained with him, all of 
them under 18. 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION 
Those deemed to be in any way associated with Kurdish political 
parties or groups that raise concerns about the treatment of Kurds 
in Syria are vulnerable to arbitrary arrest and detention and in 
many cases to torture or other ill-treatment. In addition, the 
authorities impose heavy restrictions on the production and 
circulation of Kurdish literature, including books and music. Many 
Kurds are denied the full provision of education, employment and 
health care, as well as the right to use their own language in 
schools and other public places. 

Cyprus has signed the UN Convention relating to the Status of 
Refugees, which requires that no one shall be "expelled or 
returned… in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of 
territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on 
account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a 
particular social group or political opinion." 

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY  in Arabic, English, French or your own 
language:
* Urging the authorities to reveal immediately Berzani Karro's 
fate and whereabouts;
* Calling on them to release him without delay unless he is to be 
charged with a recognizably criminal offence; 
* Urging them to ensure that he is protected from torture or other 
ill-treatment, is held in an official place of detention and 
allowed visits from his family, a lawyer of his choosing and any 
medical attention he may require. 

PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO:  (Time difference = GMT + 2 hrs / BST + 1 hrs) 
President
Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
Al-Rashid Street 
Damascus
Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:                 00 963 11 332 3410
[Salutation:         Your Excellency]
 

Minister of Defence
Lieutenant-General Ali Ben-Mohammed Habib Mahmoud 
Ministry of Defence        
Omayyad Square        
Damascus        
Syrian Arab Republic
Fax:                 00 963 11 211 9729 / 223 7842
[Salutation:         Your Excellency]
 

And copies to:
Minister of Interior
Major Sa'id Mohammed Sammour        
'Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street        
Damascus        
Syrian Arab Republic        
Fax:                 00 963 11 222 3428
Email:                 somi@net.sy 
[Salutation:         Your Excellency]
 

PLEASE SEND COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO
His Excellency Dr Sami M Khiyami
Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
8 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8PH 
Fax:                 020 7235 4621
Website:        http://syremb.com
 

PLEASE CHECK WITH THE UK SECTION IF SENDING APPEALS AFTER 6 NOVEMBER 2009.
---------------------------------------------------- 

SHOULD YOU MENTION AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL IN YOUR APPEALS? The name of 
Amnesty International may be used unless otherwise stated in the text above. Letters written in a 
private or personal capacity may be more effective.
FAX NUMBER NOT WORKING? Officials will sometimes switch off their fax machines to stop 
appeals arriving – please keep trying. If you can't get through, please 
put your appeal in the post. If a number is unobtainable please inform the Urgent Action team.
EMAIL ADDRESS NOT WORKING? Please send a copy of the delivery error report to 
ua@amnesty.org.uk
RECEIVED A REPLY FROM A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL? Please send it or a copy to the 
Urgent Action team. If appropriate, thank the official who has replied and ask to be kept informed about the case. 

 

Thanks again for you time.

Billy Briggs. 

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