Our Prisoner of Conscience (on the 4th anniversary of the conflict in Syria)
Khalil Ma’touq has been a human rights lawyer for many years. He has defended hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including many who went before the Supreme State Security Court (whose proceedings fell far short of international standards of fair trial and was abolished in 2011) Due to his human rights work Khalil Ma’touk was banned from travelling between 2005 and 2011. He was unfairly sentenced in his absence in 2010 to two years imprisonment but was not made to serve his sentence. He had recently travelled to France for medical treatment, and this may have aroused the authorities’ suspicions.
He disappeared on 2 October 2012 on his way to work. The Syrian authorities have not responded to his families repeated requests to be told why Khalil has been arrested and to provide them with information on his whereabouts and situation. For Khalil this detention is particularly dangerous as he suffers from advanced lung disease caused by a chronic inflammatory condition which has resulted in him having severe breathing difficulties. He takes regular medication and, according to his family, must be under constant medical supervision. According to what his family and friends have been told his health has gravely deteriorated during his detention.