12 August 2016

Syria: A Farmer Disappears After Arrest at a Checkpoint by the State Security

On 12 August 2016, Alkarama informed the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) of the abduction of Riad Al Othman, a 45-year-old farmer from Homs countryside, following his arrest at a checkpoint in 2012.

That year, on 15 November, Al Othman was in his car travelling to visit relatives when he was stopped at a checkpoint in Hama in west-central Syria. Officers of the General Intelligence Administration – also known as the "State Security" falling under the authority of the Ministry of Interior – controlling the checkpoint arrested him, without showing any warrant. No information was ever given to his family on his fate and whereabouts following his arrest.

His relatives did not report his arrest to the authorities, fearing retaliation. Their informal researches did not bring to any result and since Al Othman's abduction, they remain unaware of his fate and whereabouts.

"The Syrian authorities use checkpoints to create a climate of fear in the country: they strictly control every person crossing them and proceed to summary arrests of everyone suspected of supporting the opposition to bring him/her to secret places of detention. Disappearances similar to the one of Al Othman are systematic in Syria," says Inès Osman, Legal Coordinator at Alkarama. "Enforced disappearances have reached such a scale that the Independent Commission of Inquiry Commission of Inquiry has already recognised this practice as being widespread and constituting a war crime. For this reason, the Syrian authorities have a moral and legal obligation to put an end to it as a matter of great urgency."

For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Dir: +41 22 734 1008).

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