We urgently need solidarity action to be taken for comrade Dr. Touhama Maarouf in Syria. She decided to start a hunger strike on 18 February 2011 in protest against her harsh conditions in prison. She is being held in the Adra prison in Damascus, granted no rights, and with no light or medication. She is being kept in dirty conditions. Her food is bad and her health is rapidly deteriorating. Furthermore she is not allowed visitors. She was arrested on 10 February 2010 accused of belonging to the Communist Labour Party in Syria. She is the mother of two children.
She was first arrested in 1992, on charges of belonging to the Communist Labour Party and was then transferred to the State Security Court in Damascus, charged with belonging to a secret organization, the "Party for Communist Action." She was released a year later without being convicted. After getting some concessions, in November 1995 the State Security Court issued its ruling against Touhama indicating she should serve six years in prison.
Maarouf, who is trained as a dentist, was arrested in the northern city of Aleppo in July on charges of affiliation to the outlawed Communist Labor Party. Human rights groups say she is suffering "inhumane practices" at the Central Damascus Prison.
The day after her arrest she was taken to the Adra prison where she has been placed in the political wing, suffering the worst conditions of detention. She was eventually granted the right to one visit per month, but under strict security surveillance by the political police and only across a grille. She is not allowed books or magazines or radio, and the electric heaters have also been removed from her room.
The Syrian Organization for Human Rights has demanded the immediate release of Ms. Touhama , concerned for her integrity and health in the light of her hunger strike. They have also demanded she be moved to the women’s prison of women and for her conditions to be improved in accordance with the provisions of Syrian law and international agreements ratified by Syria.
We ask our readers to participate in the campaign of solidarity and send letters to the Syrian authorities demanding justice for Touhama. We provide here a model letter and information of where to send protest letters.
Dear Sir or Madam,
We have been informed via Human Rights organisation that Touhama Marrouf was recently imprisoned after being found guilty of involvement with an unauthorized left-wing political party. Touhama Marrouf. On February 18 she started a hunger strikes in a desperate attempt to have her basic human rights guaranteed. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for her perceived or actual political affiliations.
We condemn this barbaric act and we are spreading as widely as possible in the labour movement of our country news of this and we add our voices to the calls for her immediate and unconditional release.
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