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On the night of September 20, 2012, Syrian security forces stormed Mohamed Meqdad’s house in Damascus and searched every room, looking for medicine they believed he was distributing to protesters wounded by government fire, said a close relative present during the raid. The security agents found nothing, but arrested Mohamed anyway, the relative said, leaving his family so terrified that his parents did not even dare at first to approach the authorities to ask what had happened to their son.

Born in 1985, Mohamed is a lawyer who volunteered with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent during relief operations related to the war in neighboring Lebanon in 2006. When the Syrian uprising started in March 2011, he helped distribute food, blankets, and other necessities around Damascus. When he was not working with the Red Crescent, Mohamed collected money, food and blankets from his friends and family and traveled around the city helping people he had identified as needy.

The family heard from a source close to the government that Mohamed might now be in Adra Prison and that he had also spent time at Military Intelligence Branch 215. Although they got no official confirmation or sign of life from their son, these few words about his whereabouts gave them hope that he might still be alive.

Mohamed’s mother is desperate for any news of her son. She says she can still hear the ring of his laughter, which she described as hearty and generous. She can still hear the notes from his guitar. Mohamed’s siblings have set up a schedule so one of them is always by her side, so that she can never get bad news while she is alone. Every day, they retell old stories about their brother, and make family plans for when Mohamed is released.

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