Mazen Shurbaji is a real estate agent and bookstore owner. He made banners calling for peace and advocating peaceful protests in the early months of the Syrian uprising. During confrontations with government forces, Mazen helped wounded protesters find a safe place to receive medical treatment.
He was arrested on August 15, 2011, when Air Force Intelligence officers stormed his house and threatened to detain his wife as well, a witness said.
Two of his cousins Yahya Shurbaji and Mohamed (Ma’an) Shurbaji were arrested on 6 September 2011. A fourth relative, journalist and blogger Nabil Shurbaji, had gone into hiding soon after the arrest of his family members, but was eventually arrested by agents of Air Force Intelligence at a checkpoint in Daraya on 26 February 2012.
His family finally managed to locate Mazen Shurbaji in Sednaya in July 2012, and visited him there twice, first during Ramadan in the summer and then in September.
During the second visit, Mazen told his family that he had appeared before a military field court on September 3 and had signed a document without knowing what it said. Mazen’s attorney was not allowed to attend the court proceeding. A relative who spoke to Mazen about the proceeding said that no evidence was presented except statements from two detainees that Mazen was an activist. Their wives later told the relative that the two other detainees had confessed under torture. No one informed Mazen of the charges against him. His family does not know what Mazen signed, or whether a judge has issued a ruling in his case.
A close relative said that Mazen’s family had submitted at least five requests to see him to the Justice Ministry and to the Military Police station in the Qaboun neighborhood of Damascus, which the relatives believed would have information about him. Officials rejected the requests without providing any justification.
Source: Human Rights Watch