Human Rights News

Syria: Account for the "Disappeared"

Lebanese Victim Returned Dead to Beirut

(New York, November 9, 1999) The body of a Lebanese citizen who "disappeared" in Lebanon in 1990 was returned to his family last month by Syrian authorities. In a letter to President Hafez al-Asad made public today, Human Rights Watch demanded an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the death in custody of Adel Khalaf Ajouri, 52.

" This case is a tragic reminder that there are scores of Lebanese and Palestinians who ‘disappeared' on Lebanese soil and whose whereabouts are unknown. Their families deserve answers now, not the delivery of coffins after unexplained deaths in Syrian prisons. "
Hanny Megally  
Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch
  

Related Material

Letter to President Asad
Letter, November 4, 1999

Syria/Lebanon--Disappearances in Lebanon by Syrian Security Forces
Press Release, May 29, 1999

"This case is a tragic reminder that there are scores of Lebanese and Palestinians who ‘disappeared' on Lebanese soil and whose whereabouts are unknown," said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. "Their families deserve answers now, not the delivery of coffins after unexplained deaths in Syrian prisons."  
 
Human Rights Watch requested copies of Ajouri's autopsy report and death certificate, and information about the justification for his detention in Syria for more than nine years. It called on Syria to make public the names of all non-Syrians who are detained in Syria, and to release immediately and unconditionally those who are unlawfully detained. It said that disappearances are among the gravest crimes in international law and may constitute crimes against humanity, whether committed in times of war or peace.  
 
For Further Information:  
In New York: Virginia N. Sherry 212-216-1231  
In London: Urmi Shah 44-171-713-1995  
In Brussels: Jean Paul Marthoz 32-2-736-7838