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NATIONAL A tteevto* HH tear FOR LIBRARY USE ONLY Scientists and Human Rights Syria NRC NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1993

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NOTICE: This report has been approved by the members of the Committee on Human Rights of the National Academy of Sciences. It was reviewed by 3 99 the Council of the National Academy of Sciences. <• . - The work of the committee is made possible through general operating funds provided by the Ford Foundation, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the New-Land Foun- c I dation, the Oak Foundation, the Scherman Foundation, the Stichting Euro- pean Human Rights Foundation, the National Academy of Sciences, and individual donors. Available from: Committee on Human Rights National Academy of Sciences 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, B.C. 20418 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 93-83629 Copyright 1993 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES 1993 ELIOT STELLAR, Chair, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and Institute of Neurological Sciences, University of Pennsylvania ANDREAS ACRIVOS, Levich Institute for Physico-Chemical Hydrodynamics, City College of New York KENNETH J. ARROW, Department of Economics, Stanford University RENATO DULBECCO, Salk Institute, La Jolla, California GERTRUDE B. ELION, The Wellcome Research Laboratories, Burroughs Wellcome Company, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina THEODORE M. HESBURGH, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame JEROME KARLE, Laboratory for the Structure of Matter, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C. ROBERT S. LAWRENCE, The Rockefeller Foundation, New York, New York GEORGE I. LYTHCOTT, New York City Department of Health DANIEL A. OKUN, Kenan Professor of Environmental Engineering (Emeritus), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill VERA RUBIN, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington MALVIN A. RUDERMAN, Pupin Physics Laboratories, Columbia University MARTHA VAUGHAN, Laboratory of Cellular Metabolism, National Institutes of Health MARY JANE WEST-EBERHARD, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, San Jose, Costa Rica CAROL CORILLON, Director

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Contents PREFACE vii INTRODUCTION 1 REPRESSION OF SCIENTISTS 4 Background, 4 Changing Position on Human Rights, 6 Recently Freed Scientists, Engineers, and Health Professionals, 7 New Arrests, 8 Ill-Treatment of Prisoners, 11 AN EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT 15 REPRESSION OF PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS 20 Dissolution of the Associations, 22 History of Autonomy and Prospects for the Future, 23 CONCLUSIONS 26 REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY 30

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VJ CONTENTS APPENDIX A: THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS 33 APPENDIX B: SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS, AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS DETAINED WITHOUT CHARGE OR TRIAL OR IMPRISONED 35 APPENDIX C: ENGINEERS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS REPORTED DETAINED OR IMPRISONED 49 APPENDIX D: ENGINEERS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS BELIEVED DEAD OR WHO HAVE DISAPPEARED IN DETENTION 57 APPENDIX E: SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS, AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS RECENTLY RELEASED 60

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Preface As reflected in the text of this report, Syria has been, and may well still be, the country with the highest number of scientists, engineers, and health professionals detained for political reasons. Although recent amnesties an- nounced by the Syrian government have freed more than 3,500 political detainees, no lists of those released have been published. Because of this lack of information and because of the secretive manner in which human rights cases are handled by the Syrian government, it has been impossible to confirm exactly how many of the 287 persons whose cases have been un- dertaken by the Committee on Human Rights (CHR) have been freed; our sources indicate that at least 49 are no longer incarcerated. The Committee on Human Rights hopes that by publishing this report and circulating its lists, the Syrian government will be encouraged to give an accounting of those who have been released and those who remain in detention. We also hope to focus attention on the plight of Syrian scientists, engineers, and health professionals and encourage international efforts in their behalf. The prolonged detention on political grounds of so many colleagues in the science and health fields has been of long-standing concern to the com- mittee. Of the 49 scientists known to be released, many were held without charge or trial for more than 11 years. Of the 238 scientists who may still remain in detention, their periods of incarceration have also been of consid- erable length. According to our information, of the university professors we know to have been released, not one has been allowed to resume his or her university career. VII

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VIM PREFACE The committee continues to receive information about new arrests of scientists, engineers, and health professionals. Moreover, the professional associations of engineers, medical professionals, and pharmacists are now under strict government control. Following their adoption of resolutions in support of human rights reform, these essentially autonomous associations were dissolved by the government in 1980. They were then recreated under government supervision, with their activities and relationships with scien- tists abroad closely monitored. The Committee on Human Rights, created in 1976, includes members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). Under its man- date, the committee works in behalf of scientists, engineers, and health professionals who are detained, imprisoned or exiled, or who have disap- peared, for the nonviolent exercise of their fundamental rights. It also promotes investigation and prosecution in cases of colleagues who have been killed for political reasons (see Appendix A). For more than a decade the Syrian government did not acknowledge our appeals or respond to our requests for information about detained scientists, engineers, and health professionals. In 1991, however, as the Syrian gov- ernment sought to improve its relations with the West and gain greater international acceptability, it became somewhat more receptive to our ef- forts. In response to our request, in February 1992 the Syrian ambassador to the United States, Walid al-Moualem, met with a CHR delegation. The delegation, which I chaired, was composed of Roberta Cohen, CHR senior adviser; E. William Colglazier, executive director of the National Research Council's Office of International Affairs; Gerald Dinneen, foreign secretary of the NAE; and Jerome Karle, Nobel laureate and CHR member. We presented our lists to the ambassador, requested the names of those freed, and urged the speedy release of all scientific colleagues who remain in detention on political grounds. We also requested information about the cases of colleagues who reportedly had died in detention. Delegation mem- bers emphasized that given significant human rights improvements, they would be willing to explore how U.S. scientists and scientific organizations could work together with their colleagues in Syria. Several months after this meeting, the NAS received an invitation from the Supreme Council of Sciences in Syria to participate in a Science Week to be held in Damascus on November 7-13. NAS President Frank Press responded that, in accordance with the delegation's position when it met with Ambassador Walid al-Moualem, the NAS would be interested in par- ticipating if its delegates to the conference, Milton D. Van Dyke of the NAE, Alicia H. Munnell of the IOM, and a professional staff member, could arrive in Damascus a few days before the conference to discuss con-

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PREFACE ix cerns about the plight of scientific colleagues in Syria. Unfortunately, the government of Syria rejected the proposal. Accordingly, plans for the del- egation to visit Damascus were canceled. We would have preferred to have had the benefit of a visit to Syria prior to the publication of this report in order to include the views of gov- ernment officials and other information we might have gathered. We be- lieve, however, that even without a visit, we have sufficient information, which includes eyewitness testimony, to publish this report about the hu- man rights situation in Syria. We consider that the seriousness of the situation makes it essential that we do so. The report was written by Roberta Cohen, our senior adviser. It was edited by CHR director Carol Corillon and Eugenia Grohman of the Na- tional Research Council staff, with research and editorial assistance also provided by CHR program officer Patricia Evers. We are grateful, too, to Eric Stover, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, for his assistance. Eliot Stellar, Chair Committee on Human Rights National Academy of Sciences