About Malak Shanawani:
Malak Shanawani, age 26, is a journalist and gender activist, although she is a dentist by training. In the accompanying photo of her at a December 27, 2010 Damascus vigil against honor killings, she is wearing a bold t-shirt that reads: “I Am Against Honor Killings.” Her sign declares “Woman = Human Being.”
Malak participated in the civil disobediences of January and February 2011 in Damascus, in candlelight vigils in solidarity with Egypt’s and Libya’s revolutions. Malak openly and cheerfully posted on her Facebook status, “Join us for the next vigil by the Egyptian embassy!” As a result of expressing the demands for freedom and equality, she has been arrested several times since protests began in Syria. She was first detained at her workplace on April 10, 2011 for participating in anti-government protests. She was subsequently released but arrested again on May 10, 2011 along with 8 other people after a sit-in at Arnous Square in central Damascus. Two of those arrested on May 10 were subsequently released, with visible signs of beatings and torture. (Source: Human Rights Watch)
Security forces again captured Malak on September 22, 2011 in the heart of Damascus. This bright-spirited activist for freedom and equality is now a political prisoner in Syria, held incommunicado. We are concerned for her safety and well-being, and demand the immediate and unconditional release of women’s rights activist Malak Shanawani.
1. Write for Malak Shanawani:
Please use the below sample letter to demand the immediate and unconditional release of Malak Shanawani. The mail should be addressed to the Syrian Embassy in Washington DC, with copies to international foreign ministries worldwide as well as media outlets. Addresses appear below the sample letter.
To the relevant authorities:
I am writing to demand the immediate and unconditional release of journalist and women’s rights activist Malak Shanawani from detention in Syria’s security system.
Malak Shanawani, age 26, was detained on September 22, 2011 by security forces. She is detained arbitrarily and held incommunicado. Arbitrary detention is illegal according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 7. Syria signed this Covenant on 21 April, 1969.
In addition, torture is illegal in Syria, both under international law as well as according to Article 28 (3) of the Syrian Constitution. The Penal Code of Syria stipulates punishment for anyone inflicting torture on a person. Syria’s security system is thus fully responsible for the safety, health and well-being of Malak Shanawani.
I hold the Syrian government responsible for the safe return of Ms. Shanawani, and for all prisoners of conscience and political prisoners currently held in Syria’s detention and prison system. All such detainees should be released immediately and without condition.
ADDRESSES (copy & paste into your email address line):
To (Syrian Embassy in Washington DC): email@example.com
cc (Foreign Ministries worldwide): firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, DNZPC.Sekretariat@msz.gov.pl, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
cc (various media outlets): firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Bruce.Wallace@latimes.com, Mark.McGonigle@latimes.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Photos and biography of Malak Shanawani provided by Dr. Mohja Kahf.