On 11 July 2016, Alkarama and Human Rights Guardians wrote to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the cases of five Syrian citizens from the village of Kafr al-Tun who disappeared in the Governorate of Hama in western central Syria between 2012 and 2014. They were all arrested during raids and waves of arrest conducted by the Military Intelligence Directorate – or "Military Security" – or as they were passing checkpoints, after which they were brought to unknown places of detention. Their families did not take any action after their disappearance, fearing reprisals or to be arrested themselves.
Three men from the Al Akla family abducted by the Military Security between 2012 and 2014
On 23 February 2012, Ayham Al Akla, a 29 year-old student, was arrested at 9 am at his aunt's house in the village of Hayaleen in the Governorate of Hama during an operation called "swarming ants campaign" conducted by members of the Military Security wearing civilian and military uniforms. Ayham was brutally arrested and beaten on the ground before being transferred to an unknown location.
In a similar manner, two of his relatives, Alaa and Saad Al Akla were arrested months later without a warrant at their homes in the village of Kafr Al-Tun in the Governorate of Hama. On 22 August 2013, 31-year-old Alaa Al Akla was sleeping on his rooftop when, at 4 am, he saw members of the Military Intelligence coming to his house He was arrested, beaten with their weapons and transferred to an unknown location. Five months later, on 2 February 2014, Saad Al Akla, a 48-year-old farmer, was arrested at his house at 2 am when members of the Military Intelligence stormed his houseThe security officers beat him using the bottom of their weapons before putting him naked in the trunk of a car. Alaa and Saad were last seen at the Military Security branch in Hama after their arrests, but remain disappeared since.
Disappearance of a man following arrest at a checkpoint
Alkarama continues to document cases of enforced disappearances following arrests at checkpoints similar to the case of Madyan Al Jassim, a 28-year-old carpenter. On 15 June 2013, Al Jassim was on a taxi going to Hama when he was stopped at the Al-Istiqama checkpoint at the entrance of Hama by members of the Military Intelligence in civilian clothes, who immediately arrested him without providing a warrant. Al Jassim was last seen at the military airport in Hama the day of his arrest by a co-detainee. His family, who remains without any information about his fate, did not take any action after the disappearance, fearing reprisals or arrest.
A farmer missing since his arrest at home
On 13 July 2013 at 2pm, Hassan Al-Sheikh, a 32-year-old farmer, was at home in Kafr Al-Tun when Military Security agents in civilian and military uniforms raided his house. His parents' house was raided at the same time that same day. Hassan was arrested without any arrest warrant; the Military Security forces confiscated his car. Al-Sheikh was last seen at a Military Security branch in Hama.
In the light of all these cases, which only represent a few of the thousands of disappearances occurring on a daily basis in Syria, Alkarama expressed grave concern over the fate of these individuals and the serious violations of their basic rights to the WGEID. We therefore solicited the intervention of the WGEID with the Syrian authorities to ensure that the relatives of the five disappeared be immediately informed of their fate and whereabouts and that they be released or at least immediately placed under the protection of the law.
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