Joint statement for release of Khalil Ma’touq
On 4 October 2016, 31 organizations, including Lawyers for Lawyers, called for the immediate release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha. The two men disappeared four years ago, on 2 October 2012.
Ma’touq, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists for more than 20 years. He and his colleague and assistant Mohammed Zaza have been missing since October 2, 2012, when they were en route from Ma’touq’s home in Sahanaya, a Damascus suburb, to his office in Damascus. It is believed that they were arrested at a government security checkpoint. The exact reasons for the arrest are unknown, but there is reason to believe their arrest is connected to their legitimate and peaceful work in human rights.
Despite repeated requests by their families and lawyers for information about their fate, their whereabouts are still unknown. The Syrian authorities have denied that they arrested the men. However, individuals released from the government’s custody in 2015 have informed Ma’touq’s family that while in detention they spotted him in various government-operated detention facilities. Since then, the family has not received any information on his whereabouts. Khalil Ma’touq’s health is seriously at risk as he suffers from advanced lung disease.
In 2015, Khalil Ma’touq was on the shortlist of the jury of the L4L Award.
Click here for the full statement.
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