PEN International has learned that the widely reported case of Amina Abdallah Araf, purportedly a young Syrian American blogger allegedly abducted in Damascus on June 6, 2011, was fabricated. For further details on how this hoax was disclosed, go to The Washington Post. For more on the reaction from the Syrian gay community go to The Guardian. Please remove all reference to this case when sending your appeals.

Background Information

In spite of a limited presidential amnesty announced on June 2, 2011, in which several dissident writers were freed, the crackdown on anti-government protests continues. PEN remains concerned about the following cases that have not been included in the amnesty and remain at risk of ill-treatment in detention:

Blogger and poet Tal Al-Mallouhi (f) was arrested on December 27, 2009, and sentenced to five years in prison on February 14, 2011.

Writer and editor Najati Tayara was arrested on May 12, 2011, and remains detained without charge. He has reportedly been transferred to a detention center in Damascus.

PEN reiterates its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in Syria for the peaceful exercise of their opinions, including blogger and poet Tal Al-Mallouhi and writer and editor Najati Tayara, and urgently seeks guarantees of their safety. It reminds the Syrian authorities of their obligations to protect the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Syria is a signatory, and is alarmed at the apparent use of excessive force to suppress peaceful dissent.

Write A Letter

  • Welcoming the release of writers journalists and bloggers Raghdah Sa’id Hassan, Mahmoud Issa, Khaled Sid Mohand, Zaid Mastu, Khaled Sid Mohand, Mohamed Dibo, and Dorothy Parvaz;
  • Protesting the continued detention of all those currently held solely for the peaceful expression of their opinions, including writer and editor Najati Tayara and blogger and poet Tal- Al-Mallouhi;
  • Condemning the widespread arrest of journalists and bloggers for reporting on the recent protests, which PEN believes is a clear violation of their right to freedom of expression;
  • Calling on the Syrian authorities to investigate allegations of torture of detainees;
  • Calling for the release of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Syria is a signatory.

Send Your Letter To

His Excellency President Bashar al-Assad President of the Republic
Presidential Palace
Abu Rummaneh, Al-Rashid Street       
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 332 3410

His Excellency Said Sammour
Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior
Merjeh Circle
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: + 963 11 222 3428

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Syria in your country if possible.