Sunday, September 25, 2011

MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCE AND SOLIDARITY FROM U.S. PEACE ACTIVISTS TO THE SYRIAN PEOPLE


woman holding To the People of Syria: 

We were profoundly saddened to learn of the tragic death of Ghiyath Mattar, a 26-year old non-violent activist who inspired his fellow Syrians in their struggle against the cruel repression of the Assad government. We send our deepest condolences to you and to Mattar’s friends and family, in particular to his widow, who is expecting a child.
 
Mattar was murdered after being arrested on September 6, and when his body was returned to his family on September 10 it showed massive bruising and other signs of horrible torture. According to Amnesty International, this brings the total number of reported deaths in detention in Syria since April to more than 90, and heightens concern for four other activists from the Damascus suburb of Daraya who were detained at the same time as Mattar and who are at grave risk: Yahya Shurbaji and his brother Ma’an Shurbaji, Mohamed Tayseer Khoulani and Mazen Zyadeh. All four have been held incommunicado at an unknown location since their arrest.
 
We want you to know that you are not alone. People around the world have been moved by your determined fight for justice and elementary democratic rights, by your refusal to end your protests despite the brutal violence rained upon you and the arrests of thousands of protesters. As peace activists in the United States, we are writing to express our solidarity with your inspiring struggle. We do not support military intervention in Syria by our government or NATO because we know too well the history of such interventions, made in the name of democracy but actually bolstering Western power rather than popular movements for freedom
 
We wish you success in your courageous resistance to tyranny. Below is the letter of protest we have faxed to President Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Mu’allim.
 
In peace and solidarity,
 
 
Joanne Landy Thomas Harrison
Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison
Co-Directors
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
New York, NY, USA
 
OPEN LETTER TO THE SYRIAN GOVERNMENT IN PROTEST
AGAINST THE DEATH OF NON-VIOLENT ACTIVIST GHAYATH MATTAR AND BRUTAL REPRESSION OF SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS
 
President Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al-Mu’allim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 6251
 
Dear President Bashar al-Assad and Minister of Foreign Affairs Walid al-Mu’allim,
 
We are peace activists from the United States, and we write to express our horror and outrage at the reported death in custody of the non-violent activist Ghayath Mattar. We call for an immediate independent investigation of the cause and circumstances of his death and for those responsible to be brought to justice.
 
We protest the continuing detention of Yahya Shurbaji, Ma’an Shurbaji, Mazen Zyadeh and Mohamed Tayseer Khoulani and urge your government to immediately disclose their whereabouts in detention, allow them immediate access to their families, lawyers and any medical care they need, and to protect them against possible torture or other ill-treatment. These prisoners should be released from custody.
Beyond these particular cases, we call for an immediate end to the mass arrests, the release of all of those detained for exercising their basic democratic right to protest, and the violence and killings your government has inflicted on Syrians fighting for their elementary freedoms.
 
Sincerely,
 
Joanne Landy Thomas Harrison
Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison
Co-Directors
Campaign for Peace and Democracy
New York, NY, USA
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