(New York, November 9, 1999) The body of a Lebanese citizen who "disappeared" in Lebanon in 1990 was returned to his family last month by Syrian authorities. In a letter to President Hafez al-Asad made public today, Human Rights Watch demanded an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the death in custody of Adel Khalaf Ajouri, 52.
Human Rights Watch requested copies of Ajouri's autopsy report and death certificate, and information about the justification for his detention in Syria for more than nine years. It called on Syria to make public the names of all non-Syrians who are detained in Syria, and to release immediately and unconditionally those who are unlawfully detained. It said that disappearances are among the gravest crimes in international law and may constitute crimes against humanity, whether committed in times of war or peace.
For Further Information:
In New York: Virginia N. Sherry 212-216-1231
In London: Urmi Shah 44-171-713-1995
In Brussels: Jean Paul Marthoz 32-2-736-7838