A group of female detainees in the prison of Adra, Syria, have been on hunger strike since July 1, in response to the negligence of their cases and the absence of approval of their respective trials.
The prison, located in the outskirts of Damascus, is known for holding prisoners of conscience and is infamous, according to international media and human rights organizations.
For the sixth day in a row, a group of female detainees from the Adra prison continued their hunger strike to demand a solution to their situation, six months after their cases were neglected, against the regime´s own counterterrorism tribunal rules.
Detainees are denied the right to see their families. They are now being punished and forced to eat.
As Syrian citizens, we hold the regime and its judicial and security institutions accountable for the life of the female prisoners of Adra and all prisoners of conscience in Assad´s jails and demand their immediate release. We call on the international community and all human rights organizations to step in and demand their immediate release.
Some of the women have been awaiting trial for more than six months, many of them denied their right to contact their families. They remain under indeterminate reclusion, with no information on their situation or the charges pressed against them.
Among the prisoners are elderly women, pregnant, and sick women whose health is deteriorating due to the inhumane conditions they are being put through. The overall number of inmates, as the letter highlights, increases by the day, making it urgent to address the situation imminently.
Videos such as the following call on others to join the campaign in solidarity with the prisoners:
We can all do something to make their voices heard. Solidarity is not just words, but actions. The prisoners of Adra, and all prisoners of conscience in Syrian jails, are our mothers, our sisters, our daughers. They are Syria, we are Syria. We are all with you, we are all with you.
(Video from the campaign in solidarity with the Adra prisoners´ hunger strike. Taken from their Facebook page.)
Since the beginning of the uprising, thousands of women have been killed, tortured and raped by the Syrian regime security forces. According to the Syrian Human Rights Network, as of March 2013 there were more than 6,000 female prisoners of conscience - including 1,000 university students.
Syrian women have played an integral role in the uprising since its beginning in March 2011, participating in every aspect of it. As Syrian writer Rime Allaf highlights, they are the backbone of the revolution.
When considering the number of prominent female activists, Syria seems to be a leader rather than a follower, rightfully boasting of the women active in civil society and in revolution. Activists such as Suheir Atassi and Razan Zeitouneh, veterans on the socio-political underground scene at the grassroots level, and writers such as Samar Yazbek, have been part and parcel of the civil society movement challenging the regime openly from inside Syria. (...) They have been politically vocal and active in opposition, including in the main organized groups, seem to easily outnumber, especially proportionally, those in other revolutionary countries.
As builders of a future society, it is imperative to ensure that their rights are protected, along with the rights of all Syrians suffering arbitrary detention and torture.
Activists in other countries such as Jordan have started hunger strikes in solidarity with the detainees, and stood in front of embassies and human rights organizations.
The campaign launched to support the prisoners of Adra in their hunger strike is part of a bigger movement that demands the release of all prisoners of conscience with this powerful call: “Come Out of the Darkness and Come Back to Us.”