Syria: Targeted Arrests of Activists Across Country
Human Rights Watch
15 May 2011
(…) Syria's security forces continue their nationwide campaign of arbitrary arrests and intimidation against political and human rights activists, holding them incommunicado, forcing them to sign undertakings to stop protesting, and in some cases torturing them, Human Rights Watch said today.
"Syria's leaders talk about a war against terrorists, but what we see on the ground is a war against ordinary Syrians - lawyers, human rights activists, and university students - who are calling for democratic changes in their country," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Syria's emergency law may have been lifted on paper, but repression is still the rule on Syria's streets."
Human Rights Watch urged Syria's authorities to immediately reveal the whereabouts of the targeted activists, to ensure that no harm is done to them in detention, and to release all those held for exercising their basic rights to free expression and association.
In some cases, the security forces have resorted to detaining relatives and neighbors of the government critics, in an effort to obtain information on their whereabouts or force them to stop their activism, prompting many activists to send their families into hiding. (…)
(…) Human Rights Watch has called for sanctions against Syrian officials who bear responsibility for the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and the arbitrary detention and torture of hundreds of protesters and for an international investigation into the grave human rights violations in Syria. (…)
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