Ahwazi: Refugees Face Possible Persecution
Below is an article published by Reuters AlertNet:
Syrian authorities should immediately release six Iranian refugees of Arab ethnicity, or disclose a credible legal basis for detaining them, Human Rights Watch said today.
Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned that the men may be forcibly returned to
Syrian security forces arrested the six men on March 5. Five of the six are refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNCHR) and all were reported to be residing in
According to their friends and family, the six men left
Friends of the six men, along with the family of one detainee, told Human Rights Watch that their repeated requests to various Syrian authorities regarding the whereabouts and legal status of the detainees have gone unanswered.
"They will only tell us that they have been arrested and that is all," a relative of one of the detained men told Human Rights Watch.
Syrian human rights organizations that have been following the case and advocating for the release of the detainees told Human Rights Watch that they too have been unable to obtain information about the reasons for the arrests, the conditions of the detainees, or what the authorities plan to do with the six men.
In May 2006, Syrian authorities arrested and forcibly returned four ethnic Iranian Arabs back to
"The Syrian authorities should take immediate steps to clarify the situation of the current detainees and ensure that the forcible returns of the previous year are not repeated," said Whitson.
The six detainees are: - Afnan Azizi, 20, a civil engineering student in
- Afnan Azizi, 20, a civil engineering student in
- Ahmad Asadi, 28, a student of Arabic literature at the
- Ali Bouazar, 24, who fled to
- Jaber Ebayat, 19, a sociology student at the University of Damascus; Kamal Naseri, 27, who had been living in Syria for eight months at the time of his arrest; and,
- Salahuddin Helali Majd, 23, a science student at the