Syria: DI Calls For Release Of Two Kidnapped Church Leaders
Oslo, September 23, 2015 – Defend International has appealed for the release of two archbishops kidnapped in Syria over two years ago, asking governments, parliaments and international organisations to secure the freedom of all kidnapped civilians.
On April 22, 2013, Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church were kidnapped near the Turkish border, where they had travelled seeking the release of two abducted priests. Despite efforts until now, Defend International (DI) and its local partners have been unable to obtain any information as to the fate of the archbishops. “The absence of any sign of life from them fills us with the worst fears,” said a DI representative in Syria who wanted to remain anonymous. DI calls on the international community to help discover their fate and ensure that the archbishops receive visits by international inspectors.
Co-founder of Defend International, Dr. Widad Akreyi, has urged local, regional and international authorities to spare no effort to secure the release of missing archbishops.
“The increased incidence of abductions in Syria represents a major challenge within the ongoing humanitarian crises. The archbishops have suffered terribly, and their families have suffered immensely not knowing what has become of them.” Dr. Widad Akreyi
Dr. Akreyi said today: “We are deeply concerned over the kidnapping of these two courageous archbishops. The increased incidence of abductions represents a major challenge within the ongoing humanitarian crises. The archbishops have suffered terribly, and their families have suffered immensely not knowing what has become of them. We appeal to all governments, parliaments, the United Nations, the International Red Cross, NGOs and all those who uphold the principles of human rights and justice to 1) issue a global call on the kidnappers to release the archbishops unconditionally; and 2) use all means at their disposal to ensure that the archbishops are released as soon as possible.
Humanitarian aid workers, religious leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, academicians and other civilians in Syria and Iraq remain exposed to harassment, acts of intimidation, threats, disappearances, abductions and other restrictions to their freedom.
Defend International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who have been kidnapped in conflict-torn Syria and Iraq. Even in times of war, fundamental moral values must be respected for all human beings regardless of their religion, race, nationality or other distinguishing characteristics.
Defend International is an NGO which has as its main objective the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
For more information, to request interviews, or to send vital information about the archbishops please contact:
Photo of archbishops borrowed from their blog
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