News | 25 05 2020
In a special coverage of Rozana, we followed the arrival of the Freedom Bus to the French capital, Paris, in an initiative launched by the Families for Freedom group, a movement which includes some of the detainees’ families and aims at mobilizing public opinion in Europe for a cause that Syrians consider a top priority, that of the forcibly detained and disappeared people in the prisons of the Syrian regime.
The families of the detainees travel on bus in the squares of major European cities and explain through loudspeakers their case that states, human rights organizations, the United Nations and policymakers have failed to raise awareness of.
In buses, the detainees have been arrested, and using busses too, the residents of entire Syrian cities have been forcibly displaced, the United Nations says. However, this bus, with its symbolism, may lead to new initiatives to pressure the Syrian regime and some other parties into releasing the detainees.
The demonstration, which took place in the Place de la République, included speeches of the detainees’ families. In addition, women who live in the capital Paris came to show photos of their sons and husbands who have been detained in the Syrian regime’s prisons. The Syrian artist Mohammed Al-Rashi sang for the detainees, along with French artists and musicians.
Demonstrators say the Freedom Bus will carry with it the heartbeats of the waiting mothers, the longing of fathers who have not lost hope, and will be crowned with the love of husbands, wives and children who are still waiting for the return of their beloved ones.
The bus will pass through cities around the world, and from everywhere it will bring together the solidarity of the peoples of the world who do not accept injustice, the peoples who have embraced the families of the detainees and the forcibly disappeared people, and would raise their voices with them for their freedom. The demonstrators would conclude with what the Syrian artist Yara Sabri started: “We want them… We want them all ...”
The bus had started its journey from London. Nora Ghazi, the wife of Bassel Khartabil Safadi, a prisoner who was executed by the Syrian regime months ago, had also delivered a speech here in Paris, the city of human rights.
Syrian human rights organizations estimate that nearly 200,000 people have been detained and forcibly disappeared in the Syrian regime prisons, some of whom were killed under torture till June 2016 (12679 detainees), according to Human Rights Watch.
As for those who were forcibly disappeared, their relatives say, after horrific leaks of the Al-Kaiser's photos (a nickname given to a former Syrian soldier who broke away from the Syrian regime and smuggled tens of thousands of photos of Syrian civilians who were victims of torture) “We need to know their fate, whether they are alive or dead. We must know, so that we can send our prayers to them at least.”