While media outlets show the cities of Syria in the throes of civil war, the practice of arbitrary arrests and subsequent disappearances of civilians by the Syrian security services and government affiliated militia persists.
Ms Fatima Khalid Saad is a disturbing example of this. A 24-year-old nurse from the coastal city of Latakia in the north-west of Syria, she was arrested on 28 June 2012 but her detention has still not been acknowledged by the authorities, and neither has her family been allowed to be in contact with her.
In the afternoon of 28 June 2012, eight members of the General Intelligence Directorate (State Security) came to Ms Saad's family home and arrested her along with her father and brother. While both men were released following hours of interrogation, Ms Saad has not been seen since. Alkarama's sources informed us that she was first held by the forces which carried out the arrest and was then transferred to the regional headquarters of the Political Security, where she was subjected to severe torture. This treatment caused rapid deterioration of her health condition and she was therefore brought to the military hospital in the citadel district of Latakia, before being presumably placed in a General Intelligence detention centre on 17 July 2012.
Given the countless reports of deaths in custody, often as a consequence of torture, as well as the deplorable state of health Ms Saad seems to be in, Alkarama fears for her life. We therefore call on the Syrian authorities to immediately release Ms Saad and ensure that she receives adequate medical treatment and today informed the relevant UN Special Procedures of her situation.