A new report published by Amnesty international reveals activists abroad opposed to the regime of basher Al-Assad and theirs relatives in Syria are being systemically monitored and subjected to human rights violations by Syrian embassy officials and others believed to be acting on behalf of the Syrian regime.
The threats made by Assad and his regime do not stop at the borders of Syria, because the long reach of Mukhabarat intimidate pro-reform Syrian activists abroad.
Emad, a 25-year-old activist, is one of more than 30 Syrians living abroad who have faced intimidation and threats to their lives. In addition, Assad cronies are threatening the lives of the expatriates’ parents back home in Syria.
The only crime Emad committed was to stand outside the Syrian embassy in London next to protesters calling for Assad to step down and to stop slaughtering protesters. The language of the harassment turned into a serious threat.
Emad told Alarabiya he anticipated this reckless behavior, but thought the regime would have more sense; but it turned out the only language the regime understands is the language of killing and threats.
Emad’s suffering began when the Syrian secret service recognized him from a video recording and photographs taken by officials from the embassy in London; he was then subjected to harassment of various kinds, including phone calls, emails and Face Book messages warning him to stop protesting. The Mukhabarat intimidated his 57-year-old mother in Damascus and threatened her with harm if her son continued supporting the Syrian revolution.
An Amnesty International Syria researcher, Neil Sammonds said that the pattern is seen in other countries, adding the worst single incident is perhaps what happened following a protest in the U.S. during which a Syrian composer and pianist, Malek Aljandali, performed; four days later his 73-year-old father and 63-year-old mother were attacked at their home and physically beaten. Several of his mother’s teeth were knocked out, and those who beat her up told her they did so because her son mocked the government.
It is believed that the U.K. and U.S. governments have raised the issue with the Syrian ambassador to London and Washington, and the police are looking into the harassment allegations.
Meanwhile, despite the apparent intimidation, UK-based Syrians recently staged an “I am not afraid” demonstration outside the Syrian embassy at which protesters held placards inscribed with their names and hometowns in Syria.