Jawwan Ibrahim Response to Human Rights Watch Concerns
(Human Rights Watch translation)
May 4, 2014
Mr. Fred Abrahams, HRW Special Advisor
In response to your letter of April 24, 2014, with requests for information, by way of questions posed by your organization, please find here my answers, with our deepest appreciation.
Commander General of Asayish Rojava,
You probably realize that, being confronted with the task of building our system in an adverse security and economic situation, and in the face of terrorist activity, we have some old buildings that we took over from the Syrian Ba’ath regime, which we have to use for our purposes. Plans were made to construct new facilities that conform to international human rights standards, and they should be ready during the coming months. As for the Afrin prison, the building lies within the People’s Court former governmental complex, and the address is known to all Afrin residents. It is currently being used pending the completion of the new reformatory. The Ain Al-Arab prison lies in the center of the Muqata’a, near to the Asayish center, and is also known to the locals. It’s a former-government structure that was used after the liberation of the city of Ain Al-Arab.
The number of prisoners at Ain Al-Arab is 83, convicted of various crimes, and 130 at Afrin. These numbers are subject to daily variation as a result of arrests and releases.
The Asayish Rojava forces have no secret prisons in any of the three Muqata’as, and our prisons are open to organizations, the government and public prosecution.
The arrest of some opposition party members:
I would like to confirm, right from the beginning, that we do not detain a single political prisoner. All detainees are charged with criminal or terrorism-related charges. It happens frequently that people get arrested on criminal or terrorism charges, and turn out later to be members or affiliates of a political party. But we prosecute crime and terrorism only, and political affiliation does not concern us in the least. Accordingly I have to clarify that:
1. Siyamend Barim
2. Mohammad Saeed Isso
were tried before the people’s court in Afrin, case 370/1, verdict 182/2014.
Siyamend was charged with the commission of politically-motivated terrorist acts (blowing up the Free Media Academy in Afrin), and Isso was charged as an accessory and aide to Siyamend.
· Jikar Hammu is on trial in Afrin.
· Bayazid Mamo was tried before the people’s court in Afrin, case 370/1, verdict 182/2014, on the charge of committing politically-motivated terrorist acts, viz. the explosions at the Free Media Academy in Afrin in 2013.
With regard to:
· Ahmad Sidu
· Shukry Bakr
· Haydar Shukry Bakr
· Jawwan Qalander
they are not detained by Asayish Rojava forces in any of its three Muqat’as, and we know nothing about them. Their status is not known to us, and whatever information you received about their arrest by Asayish is obviously inaccurate.
Rasul Ismail Khalil was tried before the people’s court in Afrin, case 370/2, verdict 183/2014, on charges of terrorist activity, through the bombing of a car carrying Attuf Abdu in order to assassinate him in 2013. The assassination attempt met with failure.
The lawyer Idriss A’loush is not detained by Asayish Rojava forces in any of its three Muqata’as, and we know nothing about him. His status is not known to us, and whatever information you received about his arrest by Asayish is obviously inaccurate.
Mistreatment in detention:
Yes, 5 members of Asayish Rojava forces have been disciplined for mistreatment of detainees, and three others were disciplined for mistreatment of citizens. The punishments ranged from 4 to 6 months of imprisonment, and all were dismissed from the force.
The killing of Rashwan Atash
On February 17, 2014, a verbal disagreement escalated to a physical confrontation between Rashwan and one Yusuf Ernah, in the city of Ras Al-Ain (Serê Kaniyê), when the former and his father demanded a sum of money from the latter. Asayish learnt of the incident and sent a patrol to the home of Hajj Atash, father of Rashwan. He verbally abused members of the patrol, and drew a Kalashnikov on them. Some of his relatives wielded military handguns, and were subsequently arrested, including the victim Rashwan.
Rashwan died on February 18, 2014, hours after his arrest, due to a beating by an Asayish administrative member in Ras Al-Ain, in response to provocation by Rashwan. The cause of Rashwan’s death was cardiac arrest, caused by the beating of the Asayish administrative member (B.).
Both Asayish and the court held the administrative member responsible for the death, and he was found guilty of murder of the first degree. The general command ordered the arrest of the administrative member B., and his suspension from the force so that he may be tried in court. He was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor. The trial is still ongoing. It should be noted that this Asayish administrative member B. is the convict Bauer, who is known to the Attash family members who attended the trial, and also known to Ras Al-Ain residents in general.
All members of the Asayish Serê Kaniyê force who witnessed the beating of Rashwan, leading to the loss of his life, were dismissed from service.
The case of Bahzed Dorsen
On October 24, 2012, according to information we obtained from friends and family of Mr. Bahzad Dorsen, the party official in the Derik area, Mr. Dorsen left his home with a certain Talal who smuggles guns from Iraq, and never came back. Search for the missing person continued in the countryside of the Malikiyah area by Asayish patrols for 12 days, with no success. (You may verify this from news archives, as the Syrian Ba’ath regime was in control of Malikiyah at the time of Mr. Dorsen’s disappearance, and all security agencies of the Assad regime were operative in the area at the time).
The case of Ahmed Bonchaq
He is not with the Asayish forces and we do not know him nor have any information about him.
The case of Amir Hamid
The period during which Mr. Hamid disappeared, in the area of Derbassiyah 3, had witnessed several incidents of kidnapping and robbery, as well as a case of kidnapping in the south of Qahtaneyah. People in Mr. Hamid’s circle confirmed that he disappeared at a time when he was seen with smugglers trying to enter Turkey from Syria.
We conducted an investigation and arrested the smuggler who was supposed to take Mr. Hamid into Turkey, but solid evidence was lacking. We could only establish that a civilian car carrying 4 civilians had abducted Mr. Hamid, leaving the smuggler and the Arab girl. This was confirmed by the statements of the Kurdish smuggler during the investigation. He also affirmed that he could not identify the kidnappers.