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MOHAMMED ISSAM ZAGHLOUL

occupation

Lawyer

whereabouts

Unknown

last seen

Transferred to a military field court in Damascus

age, status

Married with children

Report

Mohammed Issam Zaghloul is a lawyer and human rights defender from the al-Midan neighbourhood in Damascus. He was first arrested on 23 August 2011 after leading a peaceful protest at the Damascus Bar Association, which demanded the release of all prisoners who were arbitrarily detained in Syria. As a condition of his release, he was forced to sign a statement saying he would not be active in protests or “instigate the public against the government” again. He was later abducted on 10 October 2012 by a group of men believed to be affiliated with the government while driving home from work on the Mezze highway in Damascus. After his abduction, he was able to contact his wife, Maiss, to inform her what had happened. When the family refused to pay the ransom money that was asked of them, he was transferred to a branch of Air Force Intelligence in Damascus. His presence there was confirmed by several released detainees. Since then, his family has made official and unofficial inquiries into Mohammed’s whereabouts, none of which has been successful. Maiss told Amnesty International: “I wanted to go there [to the branch] myself, but I was afraid I would be arrested.”73 The most recent news received by Mohammed’s family came on 2 February 2014, when they were told that he had been transferred to a military field court in Damascus. They have received no updates since that date. Mohammed is the father of three children, the youngest of whom was born after he was taken on 10 October 2012. A close relative described her experience after Mohammad’s enforced disappearance:

“I am stuck in the middle, unable to look back or move forward. I can’t build any future without him. I am in despair, but I can’t give up. I have to keep going for the kids. Being a mother is the only thing gives my life meaning now.”

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