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Syria: GCHR calls for the immediate release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant Mohamed Thatha

2017-10-02

The Syrian government should immediately release prominent human rights lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha, the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) said today on the fifth anniversary of their disappearance.

The two men have been missing since 02 October 2012 when they are believed to have been arrested at a government-operated checkpoint in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya. Despite repeated requests for information to the public prosecutor’s office in Damascus in 2012 and 2013 by family and colleagues, Syrian authorities have denied that they arrested the men.

However, individuals released from the government’s custody in 2015 have informed Ma’touq’s family that while in detention they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities, including State Security Branch 285 and Military Intelligence Branch 235 in Damascus. Since then, the family has not received any information on his whereabouts. Despite repeated calls from human rights organisations, Ma’touq and Thatha have not been released.

There are grave concerns for the health of Ma’touq, as he suffers from advanced lung disease, for which he requires appropriate medication and medical care.

The Syrian authorities should immediately disclose the whereabouts of Ma’touq and Thatha, and unconditionally release them as well as all others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights in Syria.