SETF is proud to facilitate Mazen Al-Hummada in his visit to the United States throughout the month on October. Mazen is featured in Sara Afshar's film, Syria's Disappeared, addressing the search for justice for victims of war crimes by the Assad regime and the hundreds of thousands of people who have been disappeared into these notoriously torturous prisons.
Please don't miss your chance to catch Mazen Al-Hummada at one of the events listed below.
For questions about Mazen's visit please contact our director of outreach by emailing [email protected]
Mazen Al-Hummada was born and raised in Deir Ezzor, Syria. He has been an activist since the earliest days of the revolution, when he began organizing pro-democracy rallies and documenting the brutal repression of demonstrations. In 2012, government security forces arrested Mazenfor trying to smuggle baby formula into a besieged suburb of Damascus. He was detained twice and brutally tortured for nearly two years in Syria’s most notorious torture facilities featured in the "Caesar" photos, just kilometers from downtown Damascus. Upon his release from jail, Mazen returned briefly to Deir Ezzor, but fled Syria once he became a target for ISIS. He eventually escaped Syria and lives in Europe. Mazen continues his efforts to shine light on the human rights abuses in Syria. Mazen has been instrumental in working with prosecutors to document and catalog evidence of the Assad regime’s systematic torture.
CBC's "The Fifth Estate" has released a documentary film covering the search for justice to victims of Bashar al- Assad and his allies' crimes against the people of Syria. The film includes testimonies from survivors of torture in Syria's prisons and also features "Ceasar's" first television interview. The Syrian Emergency Task Force facilitated in organizing interviews and providing materials used in this documentary film.
On The Fifth Estate, The Truth Smugglers, the story of the people in Syria who risk their lives to smuggle out photographs and thousands of pages of secret official documents, hoping they will lead to the conviction of Bashar al-Assad for war crimes.
They are crimes a regime wants to keep secret: tens of thousands of Syrians have “disappeared” in the past six years of civil war, swept away to government prisons and detention centres to be interrogated, tortured and worse.
Released to youtube on Setpember 29, 2017, we tell their stories --and the people who risk their lives to expose the truth about these and other human rights abuses: A government clerk who smuggled out thousands of pages of secret official documents. A photographer who took photographs of the people tortured and killed under regime custody and then fled. And a Canadian in a secret location in Europe whose team has collected three tonnes of documents, hoping they will lead to the conviction of Bashar al Assad for war crimes.
September 29, 2017 Adam Kinzinger, Fox News
Since the ceasefire in Syria agreed to by President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in the summer, news reports on the Syria conflict have become blips on the radar and scarcely reported. However, just because we aren’t hearing about new atrocities committed by the brutal dictator Bashar Assad and his allies doesn’t mean the atrocities have stopped.
In the past two years, the Syrian conflict has shifted from a war for hope and opportunity to one in which Russia and Iran continue to prop up their evil ally Assad, while also killing innocent people with impunity.
Recently I read a Fox News article on the torture Syrians face inside Assad’s prisons in Syria, and shared it on my Twitter page. As I read some comments on my tweet, I realized that yet again, this is just one of many stories that the Assad regime will deny and then utilize its sympathizers across the world to lambast as “fake news.” Read full article here.
FILE -- Children sit outside their damaged house at the mountain resort town of Zabadani in the Damascus countryside, Syria, Thursday, May 18, 2017. A U.S. airstrike struck pro-Syrian government forces for the first time, hitting a convoy in the desert near the border with Jordan, U.S. officials and Syrian activists said, an apparent signal to President Bashar Assad to keep his forces out of a zone where U.S.-backed rebels are fighting the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 5:30pm
Location: 1539 Longworth House Office Building
This event is presented by Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in coordination with the Syrian Emergency Task force and the U.S. Holocause Memorial Museum
Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a film screening followed by a panel discussion of Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad, a film by Sara Afshar. Read original article here.
Since the ongoing armed conflict in Syria began with protests in March 2011, between 250,000 and 470,000 people are estimated to have died, including tens of thousands of civilians, and millions of people have been displaced within and outside the country’s borders. The resulting humanitarian crisis is so large, and its regional implications so significant, that these aspects have at times overshadowed the brutal record of human rights violations, including torture and enforced disappearance, committed by the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. In 2013 the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria determined that the use of enforced disappearance by the Syrian government was widespread and could amount to a crime against humanity.
The 50-minute documentary film Syria’s Disappeared: The Case Against Assad tells the story of tens of thousands of men, women and children who disappeared at the hands of the Assad regime into a network of clandestine detention centers. The film weaves together the powerful personal stories of three Syrians with evidence gathered from regime documentation smuggled out of Syria. It follows survivors of detention, families of detainees, regime defectors and international war crimes investigators as they fight to release victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Following the screening, Mazen Alhummada, whose story is chronicled in the film, and Stephen J. Rapp, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes who also appears in the film, will discuss the urgent struggle to ensure accountability for these crimes.
The screening and panel discussion will be open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the interested public and the media. For any questions, please contact Kimberly Stanton (for Rep. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or [email protected] or Jamie Staley (for Rep. Hultgren) at 202-226-1516 or [email protected].
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Randy Hultgren, M.C.
On Sunday, 24 September 2017 Group "Caesar" from Syria will be presented with the 2017 Nuremberg International Human Rights Award, for its courage in bringing the systematic torture and mass murders in Syria to the attention of the world public. Read full article here.
"No impunity for the perpetrators – this objective motivated ”Caesar” and so this year’s award presentation closes the link to Nuremberg’s heritage. He himself has also said why he risked his own life in the face of this everyday horror: “Truth will prevail. […] A right is only lost if nobody stands up for it any more.”
At the festative presentation of the award Stephen Rapp, former Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, will hold the tribute to the prizewinners.
Kenneth Roth, Exexcutive Director of Human Rights Watch and Barbara Lochbihler, Vice President of the EP Human Rights Committee will deliver a speech.
Garance Le Caisne, author of the book "Opération César: Au coeur de la machine de mort syrienne" (Operation Caesar. In the Heart of the Syrian Death Machine) will accept the prize on behalf of the prizewinners.
"... The fact that the Nuremberg Human Rights Award is shining light on Syria this year is most welcome. This year’s prizewinner, the Caesar group, has courageously pursued the cause of human rights – in spite of the threats to its members’ own security in the midst of this brutal civil war, which has now been raging for six years. Through photographs taken in secret, it has documented how people are suffering torture, executions and abuse in Syrian prisons, images that are helping to prevent these crimes from going unpunished. Moreover, they are a harrowing reminder and an appeal to the international community, as well as to the actors in the region in particular, namely that you bear responsibility! This conflict can only be brought to an end by balancing political interests – and not by bleeding an entire country dry.
Permit me to thank the Caesar group for its courageous work in the name of human rights and to congratulate its members on winning the International Nuremberg Human Rights Award!"