- Kofi Annan, Syrian Embassies, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, Arab League
Turkish journalists, Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun disappeared in Idlib March 2012, and were reported to have been kidnapped by Syrian regime agents along with their fellow Bhaa Al-Deen, who was released later, They are being detained in Security Branchnumber 285 in Kafr Souseh, Damascus in the northern prison and they are kept in a 1.5 M. solitary confinement.
Reporter Özköse and cameraman Coşkun entered Syria over a month ago in order to film a documentary and report on developments there, Ali Adakoğlu, chief editor at their newspaper, Milat, told IPI Turkey at the time. Özköse is also a correspondent for Gercek Hayat (Real Life) magazine, reports say.
Their last contact with their offices was on March 10. Later that month, Turkish officials confirmed that the journalists were alive and said the Syrian government had confirmed it knew of their whereabouts, but denied reports suggesting Turkey would consider exchanging a number of Syrian generals who had defected for the journalists.
At least one of the detained journalists is reported to have been tortured.
"We are deeply alarmed at suggestions that Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun appear to be in the custody of the Syrian government, and that at least one of the two journalists may have been tortured,” said International Press Institute Acting Deputy Director Anthony Mills. “If the two journalists are in fact in the hands of the authorities then they must be released immediately, along with all of the other Syrian reporters who have been detained. Furthermore, those responsible for maltreatment in any form must be held accountable.”
WHEREAS: The arrest and continued imprisonment of Turkish journalists Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun is in fact a case of kidnapping which is illegal under both national and international laws, including Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (dealing with arbitrary detention);
And WHEREAS torture is illegal in Syria under international law as well as Article 29 (3) of the Syrian Constitution;
And WHEREAS this case is but th latest in a string of outrages committed against journalists by agents of the Assad regime, including impriosnment, torture and murder;
THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, demand that the international community bring all pressure to bear upon the Syrian regime to secure the immediate and unconditional release of Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun, as well as all other detained journalists and bloggers. Their release must be a nonnegotiable precondition to any further talks with this regime regarding an easing of sanctions and other forms of pressure being applied against the regime because of its continued crackdown.
The Syria Must Free Turkish Journalists Adem Özköse and Hamit Coşkun petition to Kofi Annan, Syrian Embassies, Navi Pillay, Ban Ki-Moon, Arab League was written by John S. Burke and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.