Syrian Political Security Forces Arrest Two Assyrians in the City of Qamishly

arrest1.jpgADO Statement
 Syrian Government’s Political Security Forces Arrest Two Assyrians in the City of Qamishly
 On the morning of Monday, September 20, 2010, the Syrian Government’s Political Security Forces in the city of Qamishly, Syria, arrested Mr. Gabriel Issa Iskandar (electrician) who belongs to an Assyrian family that has been prohibited from receiving Syrian Citizenship for decades (since 1962). Mr. Gabriel Issa Iskandar is not affiliated with any political party or opposition group and is not known for participating in political activity.

Mr. Gabriel Issa Iskandar was arrested due to raising an Assyrian flag that contains historical and cultural symbols. This happened when Mr. Iskandar had attended a concert given by an Assyrian singer from Diaspora, which was also attended by a large number of our people. These historical and cultural symbols are cherished by all of our people and symbolize the great ancient civilizations of Syria and Mesopotamia, and are found in Syria’s national museums and appear in many public areas in Syria.

These symbols are scattered in abundance and sold in many places as souvenirs. Following his arrest, Mr. Iskandar was severely pressured and questioned by the authorities and was forced to name the shop where he had purchased this flag from. Based on Mr. Iskandar’s statements, the Syrian Political Security Forces arrested Mr. Nahir Hanna, who works at a printing press and is not affiliated with any political party or opposition group. After being detained for two days by the Political Security in Qamishly, both individuals were taken to the Military Court (to be tried before a Military Judge) to stand trial on charges of “Inciting Sectarian Strife” under Article 307 of the Penal Code.

We, in the Assyrian Democratic Organization strongly condemn the unjustified arrest of these two young individuals who had not committed any crime nor act that would violate the security and stability of the country. We call upon the authorities to release them and drop all the unfair charges against them, and to stop harassing the citizens of the country. The authorities must cease their wrongful prosecutions and interference in all aspects of the citizens’ lives. We also call upon the release of all political prisoners in Syria, to promote national unity and ensure a decent life for all citizens.

Assyrian Democratic Organization
 Media Committee
 Syria September 25, 2010