Lebanon News

Aisamy in Syria, health deteriorating: daughter

This undated family hand out photo shows Syrian dissident Shibli Aisamy, right, and his son Bashar, in Washington in 2010. (The Daily Star, HO)

BEIRUT: The daughter of 86-year-old Syrian dissident Shibli Aisamy said Tuesday her father is being held in Syria and that his health is deteriorating.

“We have learned [from security leaks] that my father has been held in Syria since the first days of his abduction [in May],” Rajaa Sharafeddine told The Daily Star.

“We’ve also been told that my father’s health is deteriorating,” she said.

Sharafeddine said that before his kidnapping, Aisamy’s blood pressure “would fluctuate a great deal.”

Sharafeddine said she held both the Lebanese and Syrian governments responsible for Aisamy’s wellbeing, and pleaded for her father’s immediate release.

She said the family had no other details regarding her father’s physical condition, and added that they had been in contact with international humans rights activists and she hopes something can be arranged that would allow her to meet with her father.

Aisamy was abducted in May, in the town of Aley, minutes after leaving his daughter’s home for a walk.

A report revealed Tuesday by police chief Maj. Gen. Ashraf Rifi said investigations into Aisamy’s abduction were not yet complete, but that data collected so far indicates similarities between his kidnapping and that of the four brothers from the Jasem family, who Rifi has said were kidnapped by ISF personnel working at the Syrian Embassy in Beirut.

On May 26, the Syrian Council for Human Rights reported that Aisamy went missing amid “mysterious circumstances.”

According to Sharafeddine, her father went missing after he left her home in the afternoon of May 24.

He was spending the summer with his Syrian wife in Aley, where Sharafeddine, who is married to a local resident, lives.

Aisamy fled Syria in 1966 over political differences with then President Hafez al Assad and has since lived in Iraq, Egypt and the United States. He has not reportedly been involved in politics since 1992.

“At first I thought it was an accident, given my father’s age,” Sharafeddine has said in an earlier statement. “But in light of the role he played in politics, we now think it may be an abduction.”





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