A US civil case gives us, Syrians, a glimmer of hope | Opinions


On April 12, the US-based Centre for Justice and Accountability revealed that it has filed a civil case in opposition to the Syrian regime for the widespread torture of Syrian residents it has carried out over the previous 12 years. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Obada Mzaik, a Syrian American who survived torture whereas in detention and was capable of get in a foreign country.

The information of this courtroom case reached me in my house in one of many camps for displaced individuals in northwest Syria. Amid the devastation of battle, the aftermath of the lethal earthquake that hit us in February, and the non-public loss I’ve suffered, this was much-needed excellent news.

It was an necessary second, for not simply me however all of us Syrians, whose family members have been forcibly disappeared by Bashar al-Assad’s regime, saved in arbitrary detention with out cost, tortured and even killed.

On January 5, 2012, my husband Muhammad, an actual property contractor, was arrested and forcibly disappeared by the Syrian regime as a result of he had helped to organise peaceable demonstrations initially of the Syrian revolution. It has been greater than 11 years and nonetheless, I do know nothing about the place he’s or how he’s doing.

Some survivors of detention, who met him in detention, informed me he was killed beneath torture in 2014, however when his dad and mom, my in-laws, inquired of officers, they mentioned he was not detained by them. We don’t know what to imagine.

My daughter Maryam was simply two months previous when her father was arrested. She solely is aware of his face from footage I’ve of him. She loves drawing and since she found her love of artwork, she always sketches his face. Maryam’s brother Abdulsalam was six when his father was forcibly disappeared and her sister Zahraa was 4 and each communicate of him typically.

We now have little or no left to remind us of the glad life we had earlier than Muhammad’s detention. Our home the place we lived in Maarat al-Nu’man was bombed a number of occasions, the final time it was destroyed. I nonetheless have a letter that Muhammad gave me after we had been engaged in January 2004. I’ve my engagement ring and one enjoying card with the phrases “I really like you” written in his handwriting.

The phrase sufferer is gloomy and terrifying, however sadly, my kids and I are victims of a merciless regime. Dwelling in Syria and with no worldwide tribunal in place to research all of the crimes which have been dedicated through the Syrian battle, we’ve no solution to search justice.

That’s the reason the US courtroom case is necessary to us in addition to all others which have been undertaken by overseas courts. For instance, in early April, a French courtroom announced that it has charged three Syrian regime officers with complicity in crimes in opposition to humanity and battle crimes. France has even issued a world arrest warrant for them.

Final 12 months, a German courtroom sentenced to life Anwar Raslan, a former officer within the Syrian military, for crimes in opposition to humanity. And in 2021, victims of the Assad regime’s chemical assaults filed a case in Sweden in opposition to Syrian officers.

These courtroom instances expose the system of detention and torture used to regulate and suppress the Syrian inhabitants.

Though Syria has disappeared from worldwide information headlines, the Assad regime continues its horrific practices of forcibly disappearing and abusing Syrian residents. Anybody who dares to face up for freedom or democracy, utter even a phrase of criticism in opposition to Assad and even discover themselves within the improper place on the improper time may be arbitrarily arrested.

This additionally occurs to Syrians who determine to return voluntarily or are deported from nations the place they’ve sought asylum. Syria isn’t a “secure place” for refugees to return.

Many Syrians would reasonably reside in authorized limbo in camps for refugees or displaced individuals than courageous getting into regime-controlled areas to acquire journey paperwork. I personally would not have a legitimate passport any extra and can’t journey with my kids to a spot the place we might really feel safer.

These courtroom instances within the US, France, Germany and Sweden give us some hope. They hold us getting in our combat to get our family members launched from Assad’s prisons. As many as 135,000 people are believed to nonetheless be in detention.

I and tons of of survivors of detention, members of the households of detainees, and activists are working exhausting to construct a worldwide motion to get them launched. We now have launched the marketing campaign Free Syria’s Disappeared to attract consideration to their plight and put strain on the worldwide neighborhood to behave.

These courtroom instances filed in overseas nations assist us combat the normalisation of the Assad regime, remind the world of his heinous crimes and hopefully encourage efforts to determine actual peace. For it’s only when Syria is at peace that we can attain true justice for the crimes dedicated in opposition to us.

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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