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SYRIA: writer and thinker released and deported

Wednesday 16 May 2012 - 1:00am

Update 1 # RAN 24/12 16 May 2012

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release on 13 May 2012 of writer and thinker Salam Kila. However PEN remains seriously concerned for Kila’s well-being following his deportation to Jordan, where he has no means of support. Kila was reportedly subjected to torture while in detention. PEN International urges the Syrian authorities to immediately investigate the reported torture and bring to justice those responsible. It also protests his forced exile and separation from his family, solely for the peaceful expression of his views.

According to PEN’s information, Salama Kila was deported to Jordan on 13 May 2012 after being detained for more than a week at an interrogation centre and subsequently at a hospital. Kila told PEN International that he was subjected to torture and severely beaten during his three-day detention at Al-Assad Hospital in Damascus by the Air Forces secret services. He also says he witnessed other activists being tortured in both the detention centre and the hospital.

Kila, who is of Palestinian origin, was arrested on 23 April 2012 for writing an article in the newspaper Al-Yasari (the Leftist). He had been previously detained for eight years in Syrian jails in the 1990s as a result of his writings. After his release in November 2000 he remained under threat and continuous harassment from the Syrian authorities. He had to report to interrogation centres every month and was stripped of his civil and political rights.

Since his release in 2000, Kila has published twelve books analysing the political situation the in Middle East. His publications include The Current Globalisation, published in Damascus in 2004, and his latest book The Problems of the Arab National Movement, published in Amman, Jordan in 2010. He currently writes for several Arabic newspapers and magazines.
Kila suffers from cancer and he has been receiving treatment for the last two years. His family, on whom he depends for medical care, remain in Damascus, and there are serious concerns for his well-being in Jordan.

Please send appeals:

Expressing serious concerns for Kila’s well-being following his deportation to Jordan and separation from his family;
Calling for the authorities to launch a full investigation into Kila’s reports that he was subjected to torture while in detention so those responsible are brought to justice;
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all those currently detained in violation of Article 19 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Syria is a state party;

Given the present crisis in Syria, we suggest that letters are sent to the Syrian embassies in your country where they exist. Also, please distribute this alert as widely as possible in your media and among other interested group.A list of Syrian embassies worldwide can be found here.

For further information please contact Ghias Aljundi at PEN International Writers in Prison Committee, Brownlow House, 50/51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: