His name is Tariq Biassi and he's 23 years old. He lives in Banyas with his mother and two sisters. His father was was a previous political prisoner.
Tarek sells and maintains PCs. He is described by his friends as shy and quiet, spending his time surfing the web and blogging.
On 7-7-2007, Tarek was asked by the security branch in Banyas to answer a few questions concerning a comment he left on one of the "sensitive" websites. That was the last his family heard from him.
Human Rights Watch mentioned his name in its report on Syrian officials' continuous arrests of people over online comments:
On June 30, 2007, Military Intelligence in the coastal city of Tartous arrested Tarek Biasi, 22, because he “went online and insulted security services,” according to a person familiar with the case. Biasi remains in incommunicado detention,
his whereabouts unknown.
Recently, the new-formed “Ministry of Telecommunications and Technology” issued a new circular asking the owners of the Syrian websites “to exercise accuracy and objectivity (…) and to post the name of the writer of an article and the one who
comments on it in a clear and detailed manner.”
On Sunday 11th May 2008 the State Security Court in Damascus stated its verdict on the Syrian blogger Tariq Baiasi who was held in detention
since July 2007. Tariq was detained for leaving a comment on websites disfavored by the Syrian government. Free Tariq Campaign condemned the State'
s verdict and asks for freedom to the Syrian blogger:
The State Security Court in Damascus has sentenced Tariq to three years after lessening it from six years to three years (originally, Tariq received three years for each of the following charges):
Dwindling the national feeling
Weakening the national ethos.
The militarily security arrested Tariq on 7-7-2007 for leaving a comment on websites considered “suspicious” by the Syrian government.
Syrian bloggers continue to call for freedom to fellow blogger Tariq Baiassi.
Syrian writer Habib Saleh was sentenced to three years in prison for criticizing the country's government in a series of articles published on
Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully expressing his political views, and has called for his immediate and unconditional release.
The charges against Habib Saleh were related to several articles on domestic political issues that he had written and published online. He had criticized policies of the Syrian government and expressed support for a prominent opposition figure, Riad
The 61-year-old was found guilty of weakening national sentiments (Article 285 of the Penal Code) and broadcasting false or exaggerated news which could affect the morale of the country (Article 286). The court dropped other charges against
On September 13, 2009, the Syrian State Security Supreme Court sentenced the young blogger Kareem Arbaji to three-years prison for publishing mendacious information liable to weaken the nation's morale, under article 286 of the Syrian penal code.
Kareem Arbaji has been detained for over two years, since June 7th, 2007, by military intelligence officers.
Human Rights Reports reveal that Arbaji has been tortured during the detention:
Kareem Arbaji was detained before being tried, he received a cruel and disproportionate sentence even if he was convicted. He was tortured during investigations and ill treated for more than two years in prison.
It is likely that Arbaji has been arrested, detained and then sentenced for opinions he expressed on the blocked Syrian forum, Akhawiya, which he used to administrate along with other members.
The forum members have created a page to honor and support their friend behind bars. A Facebook group too has been recently created in support of the jailed blogger.
As a headline from Reporters Without Borders stated today, the number of citizen journalists killed or arrested in Syria rises daily. While some, such as Razan Ghazzawi, who won Frontline Defenders' award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, have
received ample international attention for their plight, many others have gone largely ignored by the media.
There is a new campaign centered on blogger Hussein Ghrer, who was arrested along with other bloggers and colleagues, including Ghazzawi, in a raid on the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in February and is still in
prison. The campaign, which is available in several languages, aims to draw attention to Ghrer's announcement of an indefinite hunger strike to demand his unconditional release. Ghrer's nearly five-month long detention exceeds the maximum legal
limits for incarceration without referral to court, which under Syrian law is 60 days.
Though the campaign is focused on Ghrer, Syrian blogger Yazan Badran wrote recently: Make no mistake, #FreeRazan, #FreeBassel or #FreeHussein, all mean the same thing: We want them back, we want them all. The target of these campaigns is
to raise awareness, as several bloggers who have been detained and then released from Syrian prisons have reported their belief that the media attention they received helped them to evade torture. Activists have created several campaign images
and are encouraging users on Twitter and Facebook to use them as avatars. They are also utilizing the Twitter hashtag #FreeHussein.