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Syria: Arrest of prominent human rights defender Mr Khalil Matouk
In the early morning of 2 October 2012, prominent Syrian human rights defender Mr Khalil Matouk was arrested on his way to work by security forces. His place of detention is currently unknown.
Khalil Matouk is a prominent human rights lawyer who provides legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses in Syria, including to fellow human rights defenders. Khalil Matouk, who is a member of the Syrian Bar Association, is also the executive director of the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research.
Moreover, the human rights defender is suffering from a serious lung disease and he is in need of constant medical care due to his precarious condition. Just a few days before his arrest he had been abroad to receive treatment for his health problems.
Front Line Defenders condemns the arrest and detention of Khalil Matouk and expresses concern for his physical and psychological integrity. Front Line Defenders believes that Khalil Matouk's arrest and detention are solely motivated by his advocacy for human rights in Syria and his essential role in providing legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses in Syria.
Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Syria to:
1. Immediately disclose the whereabouts of Khalil Matouk, and release him immediately and unconditionally, as it is believed that his arrest and detention are solely motivated by his legitimate and peaceful human rights work;
2. Ensure that the treatment of Khalil Matouk, while in detention, adheres to all those conditions set out in the ‘Basic Principles for Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990', and grant him immediate and unfettered access to his family and legal representatives as well as to the necessary medical treatment;
3. Guarantee under all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Syria are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including arbitrary arrest.