The Assad regime must immediately and unconditionally release 11 men who were detained following peaceful protests in the city of Suwaida, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
“The Syrian authorities are waging a campaign of intimidation – again involving enforced disappearances and arbitrary detentions – to try to stop peaceful protesters from voicing their concerns,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.
“The Syrian government’s brutal response to protests since 2011 has led to years of bloodshed and unfathomable suffering for people in Syria. This latest crackdown goes to show that the government has no intent of changing its brutal and repressive practices nine years on,” Maalouf added.
“These men have committed no criminal offence, and there is no reason why they should be behind bars. All those arbitrarily detained must be immediately and unconditionally released.”
Amnesty said that on June 14, a student was detained at a checkpoint on his way to school, allegedly in connection to the protests. It is to note that he had not even attended the protests.
Residents in Suwaida told Amnesty International that the detainees are currently being held at the Suwaida Civil Prison. Three men have been told they will be transferred to Suwaida Criminal Court for trial.
Amnesty also said that the Assad regime had threatened to transfer the other eight men to the anti-terrorism court in Damascus if the protests continue.
Suwaida has witnessed anti-regime demonstrations in recent weeks to protest against the deteriorating living conditions, during which the demonstrators demanded the overthrow of the regime and the release of detainees. (Source: SOC’s Media Department)