More than 28 months have passed since Abdullah al-Khalil, a lawyer and human rights advocate born in 1961, was arrested in May 2013 by the Syrian regime’s security service. Khalil has been a lawyer since 1986 and was the head of the Raqqa local council.
Reports confirmed that Khalil was tortured and put in solitary confinement, and was then moved to an unidentified location; according to activists, his condition remains unknown to this day.
Khalil was first arrested on May 1, 2011 after his appearance on Al-Jazeera TV and was released on July 29, 2011, only to be arrested again during a sit-in at the Lawyers’ Council on August 22, 2012. On December 15, 2011, he was arrested for the third time with his son Mohammed, who was released the following day; Khalil remained in jail until December 26, 2011.
On December 18, 2011 the regime forces demolished his house and threatened to inflict further destruction; according to activists, his farm and fruit trees were destroyed later.
Izzao Falatani, an activist, reported to Zaman Al-Wasl that Khalil was finally arrested with his 16-year-old son because they participated in a peaceful demonstration in Raqqa in support of Homs and other besieged cities.
Falatani pointed out that Khalil was a founder of the Raqqa Revolutionary Council and co-founder of the Syrian branch of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, alongside Mahmoud Marei.
According to Falatani, Khalil was a member of the Arab Socialist Democratic Union Party and a central committee member of the Raqqa branch of the National Democratic Coalition before the Syrian revolution. After a dispute with the party leadership, Khalil relinquished his positions to support the revolution and work in the field of human rights. He later became a member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces.
The Syrian Committee for Human Rights in Syria provided the following details of Khalil’s abduction: after exiting the headquarters of the Raqqa local council, Khalil was driving his car home with three other people when, at around 12:45pm, he was intercepted by a black car without plates in front of the immigration office. Khalil and the other passengers were forcefully escorted to a military court, coerced to surrender their ID cards at gunpoint, and were abducted.