Image: Dr. Mamoun Jandali after he was beaten by the Syrian security forces on 9 September 2011 in Syria. Copyrights @ private.
Seven months have passed since popular protests calling for political reform spread out nationwide in Syria. The protests have been largely peaceful, yet the Syrian authorities have sought to suppress them in the most brutal manner.
We have the names of more than 2,200 people reported to have died or been killed during or in connection with the protests since mid-March; many are believed to have been shot by security forces using live ammunition while participating in peaceful protests or attending funerals of people killed in earlier protests.
We know that thousands of other people have been arrested, with many held incommunicado at unknown locations at which torture and other ill-treatment are reported to be rife.
Disturbingly, our latest briefing finds that the Syrian authorities’ crackdown on dissent is not just confined to Syria. Syrian peaceful protesters in other parts of the world have also been systematically monitored and harassed by embassy officials and others believed to be acting on behalf of the Syrian regime.
We know of more than 30 activists in eight countries - Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, UK and the USA – who say that they have faced intimidation from embassy officials and others and that their relatives in Syria have as a result, in some cases, apparently been exposed to harassment, detention and even torture.
In many cases, protesters outside Syrian embassies were filmed or photographed by officials then subjected to harassment of various kinds, including phone calls, emails and Facebook messages warning them to stop. Some activists were directly threatened by embassy officials. A number of Syrians found that their families back home were targeted by security forces, apparently to deter them from their activities overseas, with potentially devastating consequences. Some families in Syria appear to have been forced to publicly disown their relatives overseas.
This is yet more evidence that the Syrian government will not tolerate legitimate dissent and is going to great lengths to silence those who challenge them.
Please ensure that Syrians are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly wherever they are by signing this petition calling on the Syrian authorities to respect the Syrians’ right to freedom of expression and assembly.
To: His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad
I urge your Excellency to:
- Stop the harassment of Syrians living abroad or their families inside Syria by immediately reining in the army and security forces and
- Respect Syrian people’s right to peaceful protest.
This petition will close on 18 October, exactly seven months after protesters and others were first killed in Syria.