Born in 1985, Shiar Khalil comes from Afrin (in Aleppo governorate). He was a third-year student at Damascus University’s media faculty and worked for several news sites before the 2011 uprising. Thereafter, he freelanced for Sky News Arabiya and participated in the creation of the Union of Syrian Journalists.
When air force intelligence arrested him arbitrarily, along with several friends, in Sarouja on 23 April 2013, he was taken to the “Palestine” section for interrogation and then transferred to Adra prison. Tried before a terrorism court in Damascus on 16 July 2013, he was to have been released on bail of 350,000 Syrian pounds (2,200 dollars) but he continued to be detained. Again, on 26 April 2015, the judge decided to release him on bail. He was freed two days later.
His confession and the confession of other activists were broadcast by state TV’s “Watchful Eye” programme in March 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cena70AWrOs). Such confessions are usually extracted under duress and, as such, their broadcasting is widely regarded as a violation of the right to due process, a position shared by the Council of Europe in its Resolution 2013/124/PESC of 14 March 2013 on detentions in Iran (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32013D0124&qid=1400162457791&from=EN).
Source: Reporters Without Borders