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Human Rights Tragedy in Syria: Yacoub Hanna Shamoun

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Human Rights Tragedy in Syria: Yacoub Hanna Shamoun

Jul-11-2011 at 10:20 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Human Rights Tragedy in Syria: Yacoub Hanna Shamoun
by Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO)

Yacoub Hanna Shamoun, an Assyrian (Syriac), was born in the town of Amouda, Syria in 1963. In 1972, due to economic hardship, his family moved to Lebanon seeking a better life. At the time, Yacoub was only 9 years-old and his brother Fawaz (born 1966) was only 6. As teenagers in Lebanon, Yacoub and his brother Fawaz gave up schooling at an early age and began working multiple jobs in order to assist their struggling family.

Syrian laws require mandatory military service of a male once reaching the age of 18. This prohibited the Shamoun family from returning to Syria for fear of prosecution of their children Yacoub and Fawaz, as they had reached the age of 18 and did not report to military duty. However, in 1985, the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad issued a general pardon for all individuals who had not reported to military service, declaring that anyone who had not reported will not be prosecuted but rather will be allowed to join the military service. Many Syrian families rejoiced this amnesty, including the Shamoun family who returned to Syria and their sons Yacoub and Fawaz reported to the Military Service Division in Qamishli, Syria.

On July 2, 1985, the Syrian State Security Forces arrested both brothers Yacoub and Fawaz Hanna Shamoun from their home and took them to the State Security Headquarters in Qamishli, where they were detained and tortured for weeks. After that the two brothers completely vanished and their whereabouts became unknown. Despite numerous attempts by the family to learn more about them, they were always denied any information about their children. Some even told the family to consider them dead and to give up hope of seeing their sons alive again and to stop pursuing this issue.

However, 11 years later, in 1996, the younger sibling Fawaz Hanna Shamoun was released without a trial. When Fawaz was erroneously arrested in 1985, he was 19 years-old, and when he was released in 1996, he was 30 years of age. Upon the release of Fawaz, the family’s hopes of seeing their sons alive were ignited once again. But the fate of “Yacoub Hanna Shamoun” remained unknown for years. In 2001, and after numerous attempts, the family was informed by one of Syria’s Security Agencies that their son Yacoub is in the Saydnaya Prison, where many political prisoners are detained without trial.

For years, Yacoub has been suffering from Inflammation of the Liver, and there are fears that due to lack of medical treatment, his condition has worsened and has developed into cancer. In recent years, the family was given more assurances that Yacoub is still alive in the Saydnaya Prison, where he has been detained without a trial for 26 years. When Yacoub Hanna Shamoun was immorally arrested in 1985, he was 22 years-old, today he is 48 and still awaiting trial. For years, Yacoub has been suffering from Inflammation of the Liver, and there are fears that due to lack of medical treatment, his condition has worsened and has developed into cancer.

It is worth noting that throughout the last 26 years, there have been many general pardons granted by the current and late Syrian President. Despite the fact that Yacoub Hanna Shamoun is covered by these pardons, he was never released nor allowed contact with his family or lawyer. On June 1, 2011, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a general pardon granting full amnesty to all political prisoners in Syria, and although hundreds of political prisoners were released, but Yacoub Hanna Shamoun still remains in prison.

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1. European MP letter to the Syrian Embassy

Jul-16-2011 at 10:45 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

In reply to message #0
 
Last edited on 07/16/2011 at 11:04 PM (UTC3 Assyria)
 
The European MP letter to the Syrian Embassy
Reported by Dikran Ego, EasternStar News Agency.

Attiya Tunc, a member of the Dutch parliament, who is actively drawing attention to the case of Yacoub Hanna Shamoun informed MP Albert Jan Maat about this subject. After studying the case, he wrote a letter to the Syrian embassy in the Netherlands.


May 23, 2006

Ambassador S.E. le Dr. Toufik Salloum
Syrian Embassy to Belgium
Avenue F.D. Roosevelt 3
1050 Brussels

Brussels, 23 May 2006

Your Excellency,

I am writing this letter to express my deepest concern regarding the situation of Mr. Yacoub Hanna Shamoun, an Assyrian Christian from Syria.

Mr. Shamoun has been incarcerated for over twenty years in the AlSaydnaia prison without due process or a release date in the near future. The Assyrian Christian was imprisoned after returning from Lebanon in 1985, where he had sought employment. Based on several reports, he has repeatedly been denied any access to a legal representative and kept in isolation from his family, human rights organisations and legal institutions.

The treatment and captivity of Mr Shamoun is in my opinion absolutely not in accordance with several international laws concerning human, civil and political rights and religious freedom. As your country ratified the United Nation´s Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on 21 April 1969 and signed the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment on 19 August 2004, I find it hard to understand your government's actions in this case.

You will understand that, as a Member of European Parliament and member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, I attach great value to the respect of fundamental freedoms, such as the freedom of religion and human rights. May I respectfully encourage you to give this concern your immediate attention. I would be grateful to receive information on this matter. Also, I would be available to discuss this case in a personal meeting.

Yours truly,

Albert Jan Maat,
Member of the European Parliament

Europees Parlement ASP 12E146 Wiertzstraat B-1047 Brussel Tel: +32-0-2 2847954 Fax: +32-0-2-2849954
Postbus 7 9765 ZG NL-Paterswolde Tel: +31-0-50-309-39-06 Fax: +31-0-50 309-61-45 amaat@europarl.eu.int
www.ajmaat.nl

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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