Poet and blogger arrested; fears for safety
(WiPC/IFEX) - 26 March 2012 - The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International fears for the safety of poet and blogger Dia'a Al-Abdullah, who was arrested on 13 February 2012 from his home in Asswaida by the Air Forces secret services after writing an open letter to the Syrian President. Al-Abdullah remains detained incommunicado at an unknown location, and is considered to be at serious risk of torture and ill-treatment. Concerns for his welfare are acute.
According to PEN's information, Dia'a Al-Abdullah was arrested on 13 February 2012 when security forces raided his house after he published on his Facebook page an open letter entitled As A Syrian Citizen I Announce in which he demanded that the President step down in order to prevent further bloodshed.
Al-Abdullah was previously detained and interrogated for his writing on 29 June 2011. He was held incommunicado until his release on 13 January 2012. After his release, Al-Abdullah reported that he was subjected to severe torture during his detention.
Al-Abdullah was also arrested in 1999 and held for one year without trial or charge after publishing collection of poems.
See below for a sample of his poetry, which was written during his previous imprisonment in 2011.
Please send appeals:
Expressing grave concern for the well-being and whereabouts of poet Dia'a Al-Abdullah;
Expressing concerns for the safety of the poet, and seeking assurances that he is not being tortured or ill-treated in detention which violates Article 5 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Al-Abdullah and 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 embassy in your country, where they exist.
the means of people:
The jailor kills me with a sword
I answer with a word,
and he sets my pages alight
I burn the cigarettes of these days
in my cell
My heart is the fifth wall;
I set it alight
Eid is coming
And it will bring
Only bad tobacco to smoke,
so I leave it aside
my heart would be made only for love;
now I am so enraged
- save me,
cover my heart with tenderness
Make it strong,
Offer him a touch
... a laugh ...
The world has passed beneath me
And this place is the most terrible of all
I have begun to embrace
the sun of exhaustion
So, this is my homeland;
I became its enemy
by speaking out
Speaking out brings pain -
but how can we not?
if it were not for you
I would not be so brave,
they will not break me
I touch your hands
from behind bars
This child is a prisoner now,
and my mother screams:
Will no one bring down this oppressor?
I am strong
Translated from the Arabic by Ghias Aljundi, with Mitchell Albert