Mohammad Abu Hilal - RELEASED on bail Dec. 5, 2011
Dr. Mohamed Abu Hilal, a psychiatrist practicing in Damascus, Syria was arrested on September 26 while treating patients at a medical center in Darayya, a 10 minute drive outside of the capital, Damascus. He has since been detained without any charge and his family has not had any access to his whereabouts. Dr. Abu Hilal`s abduction is part of the alarming trend of targeting doctors that has been going on since the start of peaceful protesting in March 2011.
Dr. Abu Hilal was born in a suburb of Damascus in 1976 and earned his medical degree at the age of 24. He went on to specialize in psychiatry at the Ministry of Health in Syria, and pursued further training at the Chestnut Ridge Center Mental Health Institute in West Virginia, USA. He later completed an MBA degree with the dream of bringing back his experience to Darayya, and his dreams came to light when he returned to practice at the local psychiatric hospital. However his dreams quickly turned horrific on that Monday night when armed Syrian security forces entered the hospital and abducted him while treating patients.
Although no formal charge has been laid, Dr. Abu Hilal remains in custody and at risk of severe torture and death despite fulfilling his duty without association to any political stance, religious belief or ethnicity. He had put himself in the line of fire for his patients, who are victims of the shabeeha (armed ghosts), and who were smuggled out of the besieged cities such as Homs and Hama. Despite needing emergency medical aide, patients from these cities are too fearful to enter hospitals in their hometown which have become infiltrated with intelligence officers.
We are horrified that hospitals have become unsafe places for patients and doctors in Syria, and calls on the illegitimate president, Dr. Bashar Al Assad, to honor his Oath of Hippocrates: that a doctor should never do harm, and to stop abducting medical doctors throughout the country immediately. We strongly condemn the arrest of the Dr. Mohammad Abu Hilal and expresses our deepest concerns over his fate.
His arrest constitutes a violation of Syria’s international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, specifically article 9-14-19-21-22 ratified on December 4, 1969 and entered into force on March 23, 1976. We demand his immediate release, without restrictions or conditions, and request that he be allowed to return to his practice.
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