The Syrian Kurdish human rights worker and correspondent for the Society
for Threatened Peoples (GfbV), Maschal Tamo, was arrested in the early
hours of Friday morning. His relatives have been refused all information
as to where the spokesperson for the Kurdish Movement for the Future is
being held, said his wife on the telephone to the GfbV on Friday
morning. Tamo wanted to leave the town of Ain al-Arab, some 440 km from
Damascus, by car at around 2.30 a.m. when he was stopped by Syrian
security forces and arrested. Friends informed his wife in the town of
Kamischli. Tamo provides regular information for the GfbV on the human
rights situation in Syria. Since mishandling and torture in police
custody are customary in Syria the GfbV is most concerned about the
well-being of their correspondent.

The GfbV will address itself to international institutions and the
foreign ministries of democratic states with the request to work for the
immediate release of Maschl Tamo.

In Syria there are some 150 Kurds being held in prison as political
prisoners. The GfbV has the names of 73 prisoners. The approximately two
million Syrian Kurds, who form the majority of the population in three
regions on the Syrian border with Turkey, are still today being
discriminated or suppressed. Their rights in terms of language and
culture are being withheld. In 1962 300,000 Kurds had their Syrian
citizenship withdrawn in the course of the drastic policy of
Arabicization. Since then international human rights organisations,
among them the GfbV, have been calling for their citizenship to be

If you have questions please approach the GfbV Near-East consultant, Dr.
Kamal Sido, at tel. ++49 (0)551 49906-18.