Five of the released inmates were sent to perform mandatory and reserve military service, and two others underwent a “regularization of status” at security agencies in January 2019.

On the 9th and 10th of January, 2019, the Syrian authorities released seven of the Hama Central Prison inmates, after a “Special Joint Committee” examined their files and cases, left pending by the First Field Military Court/Damascus, according to testimonies obtained by  Syrians for Truth and Justice/STJ.

On January 10, 2019, STJ’s field researcher talked to inmates in the prison, who confirmed the release of the following detainees: [1]

  1. Abdul Razaq Omar Museli Kurdi
  2. William Naouras Rustum
  3. Rasheed Abdo al-Barazi
  4. Abdo Mohammad Rabee al-Madani
  5. Ahmad Abdulrahman Masri
  6. Tareq Mohammad Ghayaneh
  7. Ghayith Salameh

The inmates were released in two batches by a “Joint Committee,” consisting of officers from the National Security Bureau, Military Security and the First Field Military Court/Damascus. The released are all from the city of Hama, who have been arrested more than five years ago. 

In mid-November 2018, the Judge of the Military Court in Hama visited the Hama Central Prison. Back then, the judge brought the inmates lists reporting the sentences passed against them, which included 29 pending judgments, 11 deferred death sentences, 7 life imprisonment sentences, 1 sentence of 20-year imprisonment. [2]

“Lwai Wahoud,” an inmate in Hama Central Prison, told STJ the following:

 “These releases are undertaken according to a final discharge order issued by the Committee that investigated the inmates, released in a previous time, and others who are not released yet. It is worth mentioning that the seven released inmates had received final discharge orders, which resemble the normal order of release in March 2018. However, they were kept in custody, as to be released in swap deals, but the detainees refused the deal, and the committee kept hold of them, until it issued these discharge orders.”

Another detainee, “Youssef Uyoun,” reported to STJ:

“In January 2018, a special committee visited the Hama Central Prison, consisting of persons from the National Security Bureau, Military Intelligence Directorate in Damascus and officers from the Field Military Court. The committee reinvestigated all the detainees and those sentenced under the Filed Military Court. After a while, the committee released a massive number of those who, back then, were referred to the Filed Military Court. Additionally, it gave final discharge orders to the seven inmates released later. Nonetheless, the regime held them, until the committee returned and issued them a new final discharge order.”

A third detainee, “Yassin al-Yassin,” told STJ’s filed researcher the following:

 “The committee, concerned with the affairs of the detainees referred to the Field Military Court, examined the cases of each of the detainees separately, following the disturbance that the prison has been witnessing since 2016. This came as an answer to our demands of examining our status, similar to the rest of the detainees referred to the Terrorism Court. But our cases were processed very slowly, and we are not aware of the criterion, according to which the committee is releasing the field detainees, knowing that, previously about 50 filed detainees were released in batches in 2018.”

One of the released detainees was wanted for the “State Security Branch” in the city of Hama, but he refused the release until his status was regularized. He was released the next day, after the committee regularized his status at the branch. He was released without further harassment from security branches in the city of Hama, while five of the other released detainees were transferred to the Military Police to join the military service, as they were required to perform either mandatory or reserve military service, STJ’s field researcher reported.

 


[1] The interview is conducted via internet.

[2] “Serious Concerns of Executing “Suspended” Death Sentences in Hama Central Prison”, Syrians for Truth and Justice, Novemmber 9, 2018, [Last visit:January 16, 2019 ]. https://www.stj-sy.com/ar/view/949.

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Arbitrary Detention Hama Central Prison

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