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Syria accused of targeting activists abroad

Syria accused of targeting activists abroad
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Opposition activists living outside Syria are accusing the country’s embassies of systematically monitoring their activities and harassing them as well as their families back home.

Their claims have been backed by Amnesty International. euronews spoke to two Syrian protesters in Brussels. They did not want to be identified.

“In front of the Syrian Embassy there is a camera that transmits information about us to the inside. Then we and our families back in Syria receive threats.”

“All our contact details as Syrian citizens are in the possession of the embassy. That’s how, after our demonstrations, we receive threats.”

Activists say the same tactics have been used in at least six EU countries as well as the US. They claim that in some cases family members in Syria have been detained and even tortured as an apparent consequence.

The Syrian Ambassador in Brussels, Azman Soussan, denied the claims: “I can tell you that all these accusations have no basis and are intended to undermine the role of Syrian embassies abroad that aim to protect the interests of the Syrians.”

But Amnesty International said it had received dozens of complaints from Syrians that have already been made to the police in different countries. 20 Syrians were interviewed for their report.

Amnesty’s Philippe Hensmans said the authorities must act: “We must investigate the allegations of harassment and brutality even if it’s against militants here, and it requires a police investigation. If it’s proven, then even if these people in the embassy are protected by diplomatic immunity, they should be sent back to their country.”

Amnesty International said they did request a meeting with the Syrian ambassador in Brussels, but they were turned down.