Three years after her father’s disappearance, 24-year-old Raneem Ma’touq tells her family’s story.
Raneem Ma'touq is the daughter of Khalil Ma’touq, a human rights lawyer and the director of the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research, who disappeared on 2 October 2012, along with a colleague, while they were on their way to work in Damascus. It is believed he was arrested after being detained at a government checkpoint, and has been held in conditions amounting to an enforced disappearance ever since. Today marks three years since he was arrested.
When Raneem Ma’touq’s father disappeared nearly three years ago, she was 21 years old. She and her family felt as if their whole world had fallen apart.
“[His disappearance] left a huge hole in our lives. For a young woman in our neighborhood, it was like hell living without him,” she said.
As a human rights lawyer defending political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Syria, her father, Khalil Ma’touq, was no stranger to threats, harassment and intimidation by the Syrian authorities. Even before the Syrian conflict began, he was subjected to a travel ban.