Political Security forces arrest another Kurd in Syria

According to Kurdish Organization for Defending Human Rights and Public Freedoms in Syria – DAD, and Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria – al-Rased, political security forces in Deyrik in Hasakah province arrested Yusuf Haji Yusuf on Thursday, 16 December 2010. It is believed that the reason for his arrest comes against the backdrop of his interest in public affairs, and at the time of writing he continues to be isolated from the outside world and his whereabouts are unknown. Continue reading “Political Security forces arrest another Kurd in Syria”

Chair of Human Rights organisation taken to Court in Syria

Joint statement – the facts of a disciplinary hearing against the known human rights activist and lawyer, Radif Mustafa, held by the Council of the Bar Association Aleppo branch:

The Council of the Bar Association held a disciplinary meeting in Aleppo on 19 December 2010 to interrogate the known human rights activist and colleague Radif Mustafa, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Kurdish Committee for Human Rights in Syria al-Rased. This is disciplinary case number 34 of 2010, and it was decided to take disciplinary proceedings against him. Continue reading “Chair of Human Rights organisation taken to Court in Syria”

Execution of Habibollah Latifi delayed, his family arrested

Iran has arrested the family of a Kurdish student whose execution, scheduled to take place on Boxing Day, was delayed because of protests outside the prison in which he has been held for three years.

A source close to the family of Habibollah Latifi, a 29-year-old student activist, said his parents and his three brothers and three sisters were arrested last night.

Human rights activists fear Iran might carry out the death penalty in secret.

At least 10 other Kurdish activists who have been active in the campaign to prevent Latifi’s execution were also arrested. Among them was Simin Chaichi, a prominent Kurdish poet. Continue reading “Execution of Habibollah Latifi delayed, his family arrested”

Clemency call for Kurdish law student facing execution in Iran on 26 December

Amnesty International today called on the Iranian authorities to halt the imminent execution of a Kurdish law student, scheduled for 26 December, and to commute his death sentence.

The lawyer of Habibollah Latifi, a law student at Azad University in the south western province of Ilam, has been informed by the Iranian authorities that Habibollah Latifi’s execution will take place on 26 December at Sanandaj Prison, Kordestan, in western Iran.

“We are urgently appealing to the Iranian authorities to show clemency, halt the imminent execution of Habibollah Latifi, and commute his death sentence,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Continue reading “Clemency call for Kurdish law student facing execution in Iran on 26 December”

Kurdwatch newsletter

Newsletter – December 23, 2010

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Al-Qamishli: Six people tortured for attempting to leave Syria illegally

KURDWATCH, December 23, 2010-On December 19, the criminal court in al-Qamishli decided that Mahmud Mahmud Zubayr (b. 1987, Maktum), his father Zubayr Mahmud Hasan (b. 1965, married, eight children, Maktum) and Husayn Sharaf ‘Abdullah (b. 1973, married, three children) will be released from custody on a bond of 1,000 Syrian Lira.
On November 4, 2010, members of the military police arrested the individuals named, along with Ahmad Shaykhu Muhammad ‘Ali (b. 1988), his father Muhammad ‘Ali Shaykhu ?Isa (b. 1945, married) and ‘Abdulqadir Khalu Muhammad (b. 1975, married) in Rumaylan on the suspicion that they wanted to leave the country illegally. On November 11, 2010, they were transferred to the Political Security Directorate in al-Hasakah. During the interrogation there, they were tortured by being forced into a tire and beaten (so-called Dulab method). On the same day they were presented to the prosecutor in al-Hasakah, who referred the case to the district attorney’s office in al-Qamishli. The district attorney’s office decided to release Ahmad Shaykhu Muhammad ‘Ali, Muhammad ‘Ali Shaykhu ‘Isa and ‘Abdulqadir Khalu Muhammad from custody.
Mahmud Mahmud Zubayr, Zubayr Mahmud Hasan, Husayn Sharaf ‘Abdullah and ‘Abdulqadir Khalu Muhammad are charged pursuant to Article 33, with reference to Article 2, Decree No. 29 from the year 1970 (Decree on the entry and departure of foreigners). Mahmud Mahmud Zubayr is accused of leaving the country illegally, while the other individuals named are accused of aiding and abetting. Ahmad Shaykhu Muhammad ?Ali and Muhammad ‘Ali Shaykhu ‘Isa are charged pursuant to Statute No. 42 from the year 1975 (Passport statute). They are also accused of leaving the country illegally. However, none of the men actually crossed the Syrian border. The next hearing is scheduled for December 26, 2010.
Aleppo: Attorney threatened with occupational ban Continue reading “Kurdwatch newsletter”

Kurdish congress in Turkey seeks far-reaching autonomy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

DIYARBAKIR – Hürriyet Daily News

An influential Kurdish group has presented the first comprehensive draft of a model of “democratic autonomy,” a far-reaching proposal that appears to fall just short of independence.

The Democratic Society Congress, or DTK, which describes itself as a local organization of Kurds in eastern Turkey, presented the draft as a text to be debated, saying adoption of the “Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan Model” could be a crucial step in solving the decades-old Kurdish issue.

According to the draft, which was opened up to debate Sunday in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir among participants in a conference of key pro-Kurdish figures that included prominent academics and journalists, the proposed autonomous model would organize itself in “political, economic, cultural, social, diplomatic, legal, ecological and self-defense” branches.

“Democratic autonomy aims to democratize the [Turkish] Republic, changing the rigidity of the nation-state that does not satisfy the needs of the people of Turkey while also eliminating the impediment that the nation-state creates in front of the political, social, economic and cultural development of the people,” the draft read. Continue reading “Kurdish congress in Turkey seeks far-reaching autonomy”

Young Kurd Commits Suicide in Asylum Center

The Democratic Union Party in Denmark – PYD-DK reports that a Kurdish asylum seeker from Syria committed suicide in his room at the Auderød asylum center. Ramazan Hajji Ibrahim, 26-year old, is from Western Kurdistan – Syria. He sought asylum in Denmark and the reason for his death is not known, but there are many indications that he might have been afraid of being forcibly deported to Syria. His friends have been very affected by the tragic incident and find it difficult to understand that their friend is missing and that he has gone for ever.

Kurdish societies in Denmark are working to arrange all the formalities for his home return, to cover all expenses and to solve any practical issues that might emerge. Continue reading “Young Kurd Commits Suicide in Asylum Center”

Kurdish woman Fatima Hawool sentenced in Syria

According to Syrian Committee for Human Rights – MAD, and Kurdish Organization for Defending Human Rights and Public Freedoms in Syria – DAD, the Criminal Military Court in Aleppo heard case 944 of 2010, regarding Fatima Ahmed Hawool, and sentenced her to a year and a half in accordance with the provisions of Article 278 of the General Syrian Penal Code. She had previously been accused under Articles 288 and 267 of the Syrian Penal Code.

Fatima Ahmed Hawool, born in Khanah Sarreh village in the Deyrick area, in 1976, who is an active member of the Sittar Federation Women’s organisation was arrested on the evening of 12th March 2010 by a Political Security patrol. Continue reading “Kurdish woman Fatima Hawool sentenced in Syria”

Syria: Another decade of repressive laws and policies

General Assembly Distr.: General
6 September 2010
English only

Full report here: Cairo Institute Sept 2010

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) would like to bring attention to the further entrenchment of the system of policies and practices that ensure the continued suppression of all domestic and international appeals for democratic reform and systematically punish political activists, journalists, and human rights defenders in Syria over the last decade.
As Syria officially celebrates the ten-year anniversary of president Bashar al-Assad’s ascension to power, the prisons are packed with individuals who have exercised their right to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, or have fought the pervasive discrimination against the Kurdish population. These citizens are prosecuted on a daily basis in unfair trials before State Security courts, military tribunals, and even the executivecontrolled regular judiciary. Complaints of “disappearances” are routine, torture remains
rampant in detention facilities, and the numbers of victims grow despite international condemnation. Continue reading “Syria: Another decade of repressive laws and policies”

Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Report of the Secretary-General

Syrian Arab Republic
54. The Government of the Syrian Arab Republic pointed out that anyone who commits an offence involving discrimination is liable to prosecution under Syrian law. It referred to article 307, among others, of the Syrian Criminal Code of 1949 that provides for the prosecution of any act, writing or speech that has as its aim or consequence the fuelling of communal or racial fanaticism or the sowing of discord between communities or between the different elements of which the nation is composed. Article 308 of the Code provides for the prosecution of any member of an association established for the purpose indicated in article 307. Moreover, articles 69 and 109 of the Criminal Code provide for the dissolution of the association and the confiscation of its property. No case, complaint or legal judgement concerning racial discrimination has been recorded in the country.
55. The Ministry of Education has begun to review, appraise, develop and modernize educational curricula. With regard to the fight against racism, the Ministry of Education has developed various syllabi to address the need to be open and combat discrimination. Furthermore, the Government has accorded special
importance to developing a human rights culture and to the establishment of an institutional framework and amendment of existing legislation in its five-year plan. Some of its activities during the five-year plan include amending legislation pertaining to economic and civil rights; training journalists and media employees to
disseminate and defend human rights and to understand relevant constitutional articles and international human rights instruments and treaties; strengthening the institutional framework; the enhancement of the capacities of the members of the Cabinet’s Higher Committee on Human Rights and the development of a programme of action for its activities.

17 September 2010



SKS response:

In the report of the Secretary General [A/65/377] of September 2010, ‘Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action Report of the Secretary-General’, in relation to Syria, he wrote: ‘No case, complaint or legal judgement concerning racial discrimination has been recorded in the country.’ (para 54).

You need to know that the Syrian Government is using Article 307 against its Kurdish population as a means of oppressing them.  I have pulled some reports from our website since July 2010 to give you an idea of how it is being utilised.