Syria: Human Rights Defenders Jadia Nawfal and Omar Al Shaar Finally Set Free

Alkarama welcomes the release, on 18 December 2014, of Jadia Abdallah Nawfal and Omar Al Shaar two Syrian human rights defenders arrested on their return from Beirut where they were attending human rights conferences and workshops. Detained in Adra Prison, they were freed yesterday following a decision issued by the investigating judge.

Nawfal, Director of the Syrian Centre for Democracy and Civil Rights, and Al Shaar, editor-in-chief of the Day Press News' English section, were arrested on 31 October at the Lebanese border and handed over to the Syrian Political Security services, before going missing.

In light of the information, Alkarama had urged the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst, to call upon the Syrian authorities to release them both immediately, as their arrests and consequent disappearances represented clear reprisals for their peaceful and legitimate work as longstanding human rights activists.

"I am thrilled to hear that Nawfal and Al Shaar got home safely after almost 50 days in detention," says Inès Osman, Alkarama's Legal Coordinator for the Mashreq. "We see the Syrian authorities tirelessly harassing and retaliating against human rights defenders, which is totally unacceptable. The case of Nawfal and Al Shaar is one case too many, and we must not forget that despite this good news, hundreds of activists still remain behind bars in Syria."

Alkarama will continue to call upon the Syrian authorities to ensure that Human Rights Defenders are able to peacefully express themselves, without any fear of reprisals, as per Resolution 12/2 of the Human Rights Council (HRC).

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