Reporters Without Borders is worried about Hossein Ghoureir, a blogger who has been reported missing by his colleagues and who has probably been arrested. Aged 30 and the father of two children, he has organized and participated in many Palestinian solidarity campaigns. In his blog, he condemned the war in Lebanon in 2006 and campaigned against Israel’s occupation of the Golan Heights.
Sounding the alarm about Ghoureir’s “disappearance,” online activists have called on the Syrian authorities to provide information about the circumstances and reason for his detention.
British journalist Sean McAllister has meanwhile revealed that he was detained by the authorities in Damascus for five days last week while working undercover on a report for Channel 4 News. He has given Channel 4 some grim insights into the mistreatment and torture of government opponents in Syrian prisons .
Here is a list of journalists, bloggers and cyber-activists currently detained in Syria. It is almost certainly incomplete:
- Qais Abatili, a very active netizen who was arrested on 25 September.
- Nizar Al-Baba, an online activist who has been held since 21 September.
- Malak Al-Shanawany, a blogger and activist who contributes to many websites. She was arrested on a Damascus street on 22 September. She has been arrested twice before.
- Jehad Jamal, a blogger better known by the pseudonym of “Milan,” who has been held since 21 September.
- Nizar Adleh, a journalist who contributes to many websites. He has been held since 6 September.
- Miraal Brourda, a writer and poet who contributes to many websites.
- Ahmed Bilal, a producer for Falesteen TV who was arrested in the Damascus suburb of Mo’adamieh on 13 September.
- Amer Matar, a journalist with the daily Al-Hayat who was arrested on 4 September. This was his second arrest.
- Alwan Zouaiter, a journalist who was written for many Lebanese dailies. He was arrested by intelligence officials in the northern city of Raqqah after returning from Libya. He was initially sentenced to five years in prison for allegedly contacting the Syrian opposition while abroad. The sentence was subsequently reduced to 13 months.
- Omar Abdel Salam
- Amer Al-As’ad, a first-year information technology student who also writes as a journalist for many Arabic-language dailies. He was arrested on 3 July and arrested again on 4 August. There has been no news of him since then.
- Hanadi Zahlout, a freelance journalist who has written many articles for online publications. He was arrested for the second time on 25 July, released four days later and re-arrested on 4 August. He is currently in Adra prison.
- Omar Al-As’ad, a journalist who writes for many Arabic-language dailies. He is also a final-year information technology student. He was arrested on 5 July and re-arrested on 4 August. There has been no news of him since then.
- Rudy Othman and Asim Hamsho, two bloggers who were arrested at the start of August.
- Abd Qabani, a netizen arrested on 8 August.
- Ammar Sa’ib, a netizen arrested on 1 August in Damascus.
- Mohamed Tahan Jamal, a member of the League of Arab Writers and Union of Journalists, who was arrested on 20 July after signing the “Aleppo Appeal for the Nation.”
- Abd Al-Majid Tamer and Mahmoud Asem Al-Mohamed, two journalists working for Kurdish news websites who were arrested on 31 May.
- Manaf Al Zeitoun, who was arrested on 25 March. There has been no news of him since his arrest.
According to some sources, the journalist Sami Al-Halabi was released on 17 August.
Zouheir Al-Mihsan, who works for the daily Al-Kassioun, was reportedly arrested on 16 March and released on 6 October.
The cases of Amer Al-Assad, Hanadi Zahlout, Rudy Othman, Asim Hamsho, Shadi Abu Al-Fajr and Ghifara Saeed were examined by a Damascus civil court on 3 October. They are accused of forming an opposition organization called the Coordination of Damascus Neighbourhoods and of being in contact with foreign officials and international human rights organizations.
Reporters Without Borders urges the Syrian government to end its abuses against civil society members, especially all those who are providing the public with information about what is taking place.