Great News! Activist and Son No Longer at Risk of Torture

Syrian activist Walid al-Bunni and his son Mu’ayad al-Bunni, who had been held incommunicado after their arrest on 6 August 2011, appear to no longer be at risk of torture. Walid al-Bunni has been charged and is currently awaiting trial. He now has regular contact with his family and lawyers. Mu’ayad al-Bunni, aged 18, was released on bail. Walid al-Bunni is a prominent activist in Syria. On 6 August, Walid al-Bunni and his two sons, Mu’ayad al-Bunni and Iyad al-Bunni, aged 18 and 19 respectively, were arrested by armed men believed to be part of the Syrian Political Security forces. While Iyad al-Bunni was later released, no information on the whereabouts of his father and brother were made public, raising fears that they were at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Amnesty International has been informed that Walid al-Bunni and Mu’ayad al-Bunni were held at the Political Security branch in Damascus.

Mu’ayad al-Bunni was released on bail in mid-September on charges related to participation in demonstrations and protests. His next appearance before a criminal court is set for 28 October.

On 27 September, Walid al-Bunni was referred to an investigating criminal court judge. The judge ordered his transferral to ‘Adra prison, where he is awaiting trial. His next court appearance is scheduled for 27 November but Amnesty International was advised that his lawyers will be applying for his release on 9 October. The charges raised against him reportedly relate to incitement, funding of pro-reform demonstrations and causing sectarian strife.

According to Amnesty International’s contacts, Walid al-Bunni and his son were beaten during the first two days of their detention but were not subjected to further ill-treatment during the rest of their detention.

Many thanks to all who took action on behalf of Walid al-Bunni and Mu’ayad al-Bunni. No further action is requested from the UA network. Amnesty International will continue to monitor Walid al-Bunni’s trial.