Fears for Syrian journalist and activist

Friends of Omar al-Asaad, a journalism student at the University of Damascus, fear he is at risk of torture.

    Omar al-Asaad, a Syrian journalist and activist, was arrested yesterday evening during a funeral for a protestor killed in the Damascus suburb of al-Qaddam, according to an eyewitness. 

    Friends of Asaad, a journalism student at the University of Damascus, fear he is at risk of torture in detention.

    Asaad writes for a number of Arabic newspapers, including the Emirates’ al-Bayan, Lebanon’s As-Safir, and Saudi papers Al-Hayat and Aljazeera.

    Earlier in the year, Asaad reported extensively on the famine in north-east Syria, which affected more than one million people but which the authorities sought to play down. 

    The arrest comes as rights activists report hundreds of opposition figures have been arrested in the past few days.

    “They are trying to prevent the rise of any political or social leadership that might compete with the regime while they seek to rebuild the wall of fear and scare the Syrian youth away from the uprising,” said Yassin al-Haj Saleh, a writer and opposition figure.

    Human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh said the arrest of Asaad and hundreds of others in recent days underscores the gap between what the regime says as it promises a "national dialogue" with protesters, and what it does. 

    “The only dialogue the regime has conducted since the beginning of the uprising has been through arrests, bullets and the barrels of the tanks,” said Zeitouneh. 


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Visualising every Saudi coalition air raid on Yemen

    Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen.

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    Why did Bush go to war in Iraq?

    No, it wasn't because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that.