Syria: Poet Nasser Saber Bondek “disappears”
“Nasser, every minute of our day is spent in pain and agony since you were detained. We have lost any joy and fear has become our companion…The children's fear over your fate is robbing them of their childhood.” Farizah Jahjah Bondek, wife of Nasser Saber Bondek.
On the evening of February 17, 2014, members of the Syrian security forces believed to be part of Military Intelligence, arrested at least four people from Sahnaya (a suburb of Damascus) including Nasser Saber Bondek. He has not been seen since.
While the official reasons for his arrest are unknown, it is believed that it could be related to his humanitarian assistance activities. His wife Farizaqh is a peaceful political activist, known for attending demonstrations. Fearing arrest, she fled Syria with their children before her husband was taken by the authorities.
Until his arrest, Nasser Saber Bondek wrote poetry and worked at the Arab Organization for Advertising, part of the Syrian Ministry of Information. His family home is in Sahnaya, though he is originally from al-Suwayda, a predominantly Druze area near the Jordanian border.
Nasser Saber Bondek had been providing aid to people internally displaced in Syria as a result of the conflict. At least two of the other people arrested from Sahnaya on the same day were arrested in connection with their alleged support for displaced people.
A released detainee claims to have seen Nasser Saber Bondek shortly after his arrest at Military Intelligence Branch 227 in Damascus. However, the Syrian authorities have not provided any information since the arrest. Amnesty International fears for Nasser Saber Bondek’s well-being. The body of another man arrested with him was returned to his family from the same Military Intelligence branch where Nasser Saber Bondek was last seen.
Thousands are reported to have died in the custody of the Syrian security forces since unrest began in 2011.
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Nasser Saber Bondek if he is detained solely for his humanitarian work.
Please write to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through the Syria Permanent Representative to the UN. Call on the Syrian authorities to:
- Release Nasser Saber Bondek immediately and unconditionally if he is held solely for peacefully engaging in humanitarian assistance work;
- Urgently inform his family of his fate and whereabouts;
- Ensure that he is protected from secret detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and allowed immediate contact with his family and a lawyer of his choice.
Permanent Representative to the UN
Bashar Ja’afari, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
820 Second Avenue, 15th Floor, New
York, NY 10017
Fax: +1 212 983 4439
Salutation: Your Excellency
Further Background on “Enforced Disappearances” in Syria
Since protests broke out in Syria in February 2011, thousands of suspected opponents of the government have been arbitrarily arrested and detained; many appear to have been subjected to enforced disappearance. Some remain missing – their fate or whereabouts unknown to their families, who are often left in anguish and despair. Others who were subjected to enforced disappearance but eventually released after languishing for months in secret detention have told Amnesty International about the torture and other ill-treatment they endured.
An enforced disappearance takes place when a person is deprived of his or her liberty (arrested, detained or abducted) by agents of the state or persons acting with its authorization, support or acquiescence. Those responsible for the disappearance then deny that the person is being held, or conceal the fate or whereabouts, placing the person outside the protection of the law. Enforced disappearances are crimes under international law.
Enforced disappearances have been a major human rights concern through the decades of the al-Assad family’s rule. Amnesty International has been documenting cases of enforced disappearance in Syria since the late 1970s.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SYRIA
Visit our country page
Read our reports: