Syria: More Arbitrary Arrests and Disappearances of Journalists and Bloggers

by Sampsonia Way    /  November 10, 2011  / No comments

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its concern about the fate of journalists and bloggers who have disappeared or who have been kidnapped over the course of the past nine months of protests against Bashar Al-Assad’s government. The list keeps getting longer.

Lena Saleh Ibrahim Photo: Day Press News

Lina Ibrahim, a reporter for the pro-government newspaper Tishreen, has been missing for the past eight days. A relative said she left her home in the Damascus suburb of Harasta on the morning of 25 October and never returned.

Little is known about the circumstances of her disappearance but it is suspected that she was kidnapped by the security forces. Information obtained by Reporters Without Borders indicates she was taken to a detention centre.

Ibrahim had worked for Tishreen since 2005. Before that, she worked for Syria Today and Syria Times, two English-language newspapers. Some sources think her disappearance is linked to a critical article entitled “Letter to the Sun” that was posted on her Facebook page. It can no longer be found online.

Reporters Without Borders is also without any news of the freelance journalist Wael Youssef Abaza, who, like Ibrahim, has been missing since 25 October.

Jehad Jamal

Jehad Jamal, who is known by the blog name of “Milan,” was arrested for the third time since the start of the protests on 14 October, just days after being released. He was held for nearly two months after his most recent previous arrest on 8 August. According to a Facebook page created to support Jamal, the last words the blogger posted before his later arrest were: “The people still want the regime to fall.”

Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to stop the arrests and abductions, which are tantamount to enforces disappearances. It also calls on them to provide reliable information about all those being held for using their right to free expression, and to release them without delay.

This is a list of journalists and bloggers currently detained in Syria. It is almost certainly incomplete:

  • Hossein Ghoureir, a blogger who has been missing since 24 October. He has health problems.
  • Qais Abatili, a very active netizen who was arrested on 25 September.
  • Nizar Al-Bababa, an online activist who has been held since 21 September.
  • Malak Al-Shanawany, a blogger and activist who contributes to many websites. She was arrested on a Damascus street on 22 September. She has been arrested twice before.
  • Jehad Jamal, a blogger better known by the pseudonym of “Milan,” who was arrested on 8 August and then again on 14 October.
  • Nizar Adleh, a journalist who contributes to many websites. He has been held since 6 September.
  • Miraal Brourda, a writer and poet who contributes to many websites.
  • Ahmed Bilal, a producer for Falesteen TV who was arrested in the Damascus suburb of Mo’adamieh on 13 September.
  • Amer Matar, a journalist with the daily Al-Hayat who was arrested on 4 September. This was his second arrest.
  • Alwan Zouaiter, a journalist who was written for many Lebanese dailies. He was arrested by intelligence officials in the northern city of Raqqah after returning from Libya. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly contacting the Syrian opposition while abroad. The sentence was subsequently reduced to 13 months.
  • Omar Abdel Salam
  • Amer Al-As’ad, a first-year information technology student who also writes as a journalist for many Arabic-language dailies. He was arrested on 3 July and arrested again on 4 August. There has been no news of him since then.
  • Hanadi Zahlout, a freelance journalist who has written many articles for online publications. He was arrested for the second time on 25 July, released four days later and re-arrested on 4 August. He is currently in Adra prison.
  • Omar Al-As’ad, a journalist who writes for many Arabic-language dailies. He is also a final-year information technology student. He was arrested on 5 July and re-arrested on 4 August. There has been no news of him since then.
  • Rudy Othman and Asim Hamsho, two bloggers who were arrested at the start of August.
  • Abd Qabani, a netizen arrested on 8 August.
  • Ammar Sa’ib, a netizen arrested on 1 August in Damascus.
  • Mohamed Tahan Jamal, a member of the League of Arab Writers and Union of Journalists, who was arrested on 20 July after signing the “Aleppo Appeal for the Nation.”
  • Abd Al-Majid Tamer and Mahmoud Asem Al-Mohamed, two journalists working for Kurdish news websites who were arrested on 31 May.
  • Manaf Al Zeitoun, who was arrested on 25 March. There has been no news of him since his arrest.
  • Sami Al-Halabi, who according to some sources, was released on 17 August.
  • Zouheir Al-Mihsan, who writes for the daily Al-Kassiun. He was reportedly arrested on 16 March. He may have been released on 6 October.

About the Author

Sampsonia Way is an online magazine sponsored by City of Asylum/Pittsburgh that seeks to protect and advocate for writers who may be endangered, to educate the public about threats to writers and literary expression, and to create a community in which endangered writers thrive and literary culture is a valued part of life.

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