Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2018, 16:17 GMT

Syria: Where is human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk?

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 18 February 2013
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Syria: Where is human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk?, 18 February 2013, available at: [accessed 19 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Last Update 18 February 2013

Mr. Khalil Maatouk, a human rights lawyer who has defended numerous prisoners of conscience before Syrian courts, was arrested with a friend by armed men on October 2, 2012 at a checkpoint in Sahnaya (in the countryside outside of Damascus). Since then, no further information could be obtained regarding his situation and whereabouts. Neither of the men has been seen since, although even the extensive period of legal custody of 60 days elapsed. Despite repeated requests by his relatives and lawyers, the Syrian authorities have failed to provide information on Mr. Khalil Maatouk's fate and whereabouts and did not allow him to contact his family and lawyers.

While two witnesses claimed having seen Mr. Maatouk in a detention centre, the judicial authorities have recently denied holding him in custody. Thus being placed outside the protection of the law, there are serious concerns for his physical and mental integrity, accentuated by his need of medical treatment for a chronic disease. Indeed, Mr. Maatouk suffers from a serious medical condition, which requires specific medical care.

The Observatory calls upon the Syrian authorities to immediately disclose Mr. Maatouk's whereabouts and release him as it believes that his arrest is related to his human rights activities.

In addition, the Observatory urges the Syrian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against human rights defenders, to immediately and unconditionally release all persons arbitrarily detained and to conform in all circumstances with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1998) as well as international human rights instruments ratified by Syria.

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