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Fears for missing Syrian lawyer Khalil Ma'touq

Amnesty International has expressed its fears over the fate of a prominent Syrian human rights lawyer who disappeared along with his friend as they made their way to work earlier this week.

According to Khalil Ma’touq’s family and colleagues, he left his home in Sahnaya, a suburb of Damascus, at 9am on Tuesday with Mohammed Thatha, but never arrived at his office in Damascus. There are several government-controlled checkpoints on the route he usually followed and the phones of both men have now ceased to work. It is feared the pair have been detained by the Syrian security forces.

Khalil Ma’touq, a member of Syria’s Christian minority, has been a human rights lawyer for many years, defending hundreds of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.

Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director Ann Harrison said:

“The families of these men have a right to know what has happened to them. If they are held, they should be released immediately and unconditionally unless they are charged with an internationally recognisable offence.

“The situation is particularly concerning as Khalil Ma’touq has a serious lung condition for which he requires medication and regular medical supervision.”

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