fears for the life of detained opposition leader Abdelaziz


The SOHR fears for the life of detained opposition leader Abdelaziz al-Khayer as his health deteriorates in prison

The health of detained opposition leader, Dr. Abdelaziz al-Khayer, is badly deteriorating as a result of more than 2 month
s of detention and mistreatment in the Airforce intelligence branch in the Mezzeh military airport. Abdelaziz al-Khayer, deputy chairman and head of the foreign affairs office at the Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), was abducted by the Syrian Air-force Intelligence while on his way back from Damascus International Airport on 21/9/2012, returning from a political trip to China as part of an NCB delegation; 2 other members of the NCB were detained with him: Maher Tahan and Eyas Ayash.

Abdelaziz is a longstanding and prominent figure in the civil and democratic opposition movement in Syria. Born in 1951 in the city of al-Qurdaha, he has been wanted by the Syrian authorities since his time at the university in 1976, when he joined the banned Communist Labour Party. From 1982 he went underground in Syria evading arrest for his political activity, only to be caught in 1992. He was only sentenced 3 years later by a military court to 22 years imprisonment for belonging to a banned political organisation and for 'weakening the revolutionary spirit of the nation'; this is considered the longest sentence for a political prisoner who did not advocate violence. Abdelaziz, a medical doctor by practice, spent his time in the Seidnaya military prison assisting the sick and injured, because political prisoners had no right to medical treatment and where furthermore tortured by the authorities. After 14 years of detention Abdelaziz al-Khayer was released in 2005, mainly due to international pressure calling for his release.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights voices its fear that the Syrian security services might execute Dr. Abdelaziz and his two colleagues Maher Tahan and Eyas Ayash. We are concerned because the authorities have refused to admit that they have the 3 men in its custody and has continually attempted to blame armed groups for the kidnapping.

We hold the Syrian regime and its security services complete responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of Abdelaziz al-Khayer and his two colleagues. We demand that they be immediately released.

The regime's regular use of arbitrary detention, and the rising number of civilians being tortured to death while in custody, means that all forms of legal international pressure need to be taken to ensure the wellbeing and freedom of Abdelaziz and his colleagues.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Created On 2012-11-26

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