DAYRIK, Syria — Widespread condemnation and public outcry followed the arrest of Syriac-Assyrian journalist and member of the Assyrian Democratic Organization (ADO) Husam al-Kass in Dayrik (Al-Malikiyah) in Gozarto (Jazira) Region in North and East Syria on Thursday.
Shortly after the arrest, al-Kass’s family released a statement saying that, “Around 4.30pm Damascus time, a group of ten masked and armed men kidnapped our son, the activist and journalist Husam Alkass from the Syriac church neighborhood, in Derik, Malkieh.”
“This happened in front of witnesses, and one of the witnesses was severely beaten when he tried to stop the kidnapping,” the statement continued.
The Executive Office of the ADO issued a statement condemning the incident and calling for his immediate release. According to the statement, “A group of masked men abducted Mr. Husam Alkass in front of a shop in the city of Malikiyah (Derik), as he was riding in his car, where they beat him and put him in his car and took him to an unknown destination.”
The ADO stated that they, “hold the de-facto authority and its security services legally responsible for the abduction, and we demand his immediate release, and we hold them responsible for any physical or psychological harm to which he is exposed.”
The Public Freedoms Office of the General Union of Kurdish Writers and Journalists issued a statement calling for the release of al-Kass and the prosecution of those responsible for his abduction.
“We consider what happened a flagrant violation of the right to expression and we demand his release and accountability for those responsible.
Co-Chair of the Syriac Union Party (SUP) in Syria Sanharib Barsoum stated to our newsdesk that the SUP rejects the arrest of al-Kass and the manner in which it was conducted, which falls outside the boundary of applicable laws of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria.
Barsoum stated that SUP officials contacted the relevant institutions as soon as they learned of al-Kass’s arrest and demanded he be released immediately, adding that the SUP has received promises he would be released.
Barsoum also stated that the SUP will demand the DAA hold accountable those responsible for the mistakes that led to al-Kass’s. In addition, SUP will demand from the DAA that all institutions fully implement existing DAA laws.
“The Administration has laws concerning the proper procedures and protocols for arrests,” said Barsoum. “Two months ago, we updated these laws to improve them.”
ADO News reported on Friday that al-Kass had been released.