29 Sep Marching towards justice
The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) organized an event on the side of the thirty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva under the title: “The victims’ families seeking justice and compensation”
With the participation of:
- Violations Documentation Center VDC
- The International Commission on Missing Persons ICMP
- Caesar Families Association
The session was moderated by Mr. Youssef Wahba (SCM). He first spoke about the reasons for establishing the Caesar Families Association (CFA). He stressed that despite Caesar’s File is one of the most heinous manifestations of human violence, it is one of the most compelling evidences of the Syrian regime’s perpetration of torture crimes, inhuman and degrading treatment for victims, and extrajudicial killing. He praised the establishment of the CFA, which took upon itself to work hard in order to make this file one of the most important files that should remain on the agendas of international organizations and bodies that make efforts for justice and sustainable peace in Syria and the whole world.
Mrs. (Mona Zain Al-Din) spoke on behalf of Mrs. (Maryam Al-Hallak), the head of the association’s administrative body, who was absent from the meeting because of a symptom. Mrs. Zain Al-Din narrated the story that led Mrs. Hallak to establish the association, demanding the rights of victims who were killed under torture in Al-Assad’s prisons as she said no one can realise the meaning of losing a son except the one who experienced the bitter taste of this pain. At the very moment of birth, the joys of the entire universe gather in the mother’s heart. She tries to do her best to raise the children, teach them, and take care of them so that they grow as she likes and wishes, but the wrong hands kidnap and torture him/her until his/her dying breath. In cold blood, they wrap the body with a blanket, put a number on the forehead, and then throw him/her in the corridors or the cellars of the prison, because the crowded refrigerators of the dead are unable to absorb the huge numbers of the people killed under torture.
Mrs. Zain Al-Din continues the story of the bereaved mother saying
During searching for him, I met a lot of people like me who had lost a loved one, including a son, a husband or a brother.
That increased my insistence on demanding to know the destiny of my son and others who died under torture.
I contacted organizations in Lebanon because I still had the hope that he was still alive. When Caesar Photos that showed people who were killed under torture in Al-Assad prisons appeared, I found my son’s image within therefore, I decided not to walk away from demanding his right.
The idea of establishing this association arose at this point. And with the help of the SCM, we were able to launch the association aiming to achieve justice for those martyrs, and to prosecute those who were responsible for killing them.
We established it to be a platform to demand their most basic rights; to have visible graves that contain their bodies.
Mr. Qutaiba Al-Mashaan talked about the arrest of his brother Okba. When he was going to work, he disappeared for a long time knowing nothing about him. Until his image appeared among Caesar Photos, the reason that motivated him and his sister Yasemin – currently residing in Germany – to strive for taking part in founding association.
Whosoever caused their death must justly get punished.
A comment from Mr. Youssef Wahba at the end of the session, reads:” On the trip of Mrs. Hallak, she obtained referral papers from one intelligence centre to another searching for her son, Ayham, and she was forced each time to sign a declaration stating that her son was arrested because he worked with armed groups, although Ayham was a peace supporter who never picked up a gun. He was arrested from his university campus.”
The way of justice is hard and tiring, but we should move forward to reach what we are seeking for.