On the 5th of November 2015, Amnesty published a report on the Enforced Disappearances in Syria and how this crime against humanity ignited the black markets as relatives desperate to find their loved ones pay money and exploited mercilessly by Syrian government’s officers and employees in exchange for a tip about their loved ones whereabouts. The number of missing people reach thousands.
My family went through an insane and horrible experience with enforced disappearance when one of our loved ones disappeared for two months before showing up miraculously and by mere coincidence. During that time no money was offered to anyone due to our awareness that if we pay then our disappeared relative might not show up till we are entirely drained. Sadly, others were overwhelmed by the anonymity of their relatives’ fate, they hang on any faint hope, and for that hope they relentlessly pay huge amounts of money. Most of these people either never know what happened to their disappeared relatives, or their disappeared relatives found dead under torture. A friend and a relative disappeared in 2011, was found by coincidence when other relative searched in Caesar’s leaked pictures of detainees tortured to death, this came after his father paid loads of money to know where his son was.
Despite all this, we rarely hear about this issue in regional and international forums, both political and humanitarian. Syrian regime is using the disappeared and people in prisons to finance the loyalty of its thugs. Once a person disappears, its relatives search in all hospitals and police stations, afterwards the search start in intelligence centers through middlemen, but no one can know for sure who is inside these black holes, officers of the Syrian regime take money in exchange of promises to bring a word about the disappeared if he/she was inside their center or not. If the disappeared was inside or not, why wasting a desperate cash machine! Some people lose everything they own in their search.
People use middlemen because they will risk their own arrest and disappearance if they search in intelligence centers by themselves. We need to do more regarding this matter, the sufferings of the disappeared and their families is an open wound in Syria.
To read Amnesty’s report, please click here.