Yara Faris_FREE

Aid WorkerYara Farres
Arrested by the Syrian authorities, on 8 December 2013, in Sahnaya
Released on 13 June 2014

Yara Faris was stopped at a State Security checkpoint close to her home in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya, on 8 December 2013. She did not have her ID on her at the time and returned home to collect it. While home, she apparently texted relatives to say she feared arrest. She was then seen being taken away by some of the people who operated the checkpoint.

Yara Faris was reportedly held at a State Security branch in Damascus for the first ten days of her detention. She was then brought before an investigating judge of a criminal court in Reef Dimashq (“Damascus countryside”), who decided to refer her case to the Anti-Terrorism Court and move her to ‘Adra prison. She was accused of “financing acts of terrorism” under Article 4 of the 2012 Anti-Terrorism Law, apparently because she had been helping to provide food and assistance to internally displaced people who had fled the conflict elsewhere in the country.

The investigating judge at the Anti-Terrorism Court recently decided not to question her, as she had already been questioned by the criminal court judge. Although she had access to her lawyers, her relatives had only been able to visit her twice: she had told them there was insufficient food for the large number of detainees at the prison.

She was released on 13 June, under the terms of a presidential amnesty that pardoned individuals charged with certain offences under the Anti-Terrorism Law of 2012. The amnesty was announced in Legislative Decree No. 22, issued on 9 June.

Yara Faris arrived at her home in the Damascus suburb of Sahnaya on the day she was released. She is now recovering from her time in prison, which does not appear to have left her with any lasting health problems.

Her husband, Maher Tahan, was subjected to enforced disappearance on 20 September 2012 when he returned with a delegation of the National Coalition for Democratic Change from an official visit to China.