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US citizen kidnapped by Syrian regime moved to unknown location

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An American citizen who has been detained by the Syrian regime since disappearing in 2017 has reportedly been moved to an unknown location, his family has revealed. Majd Kamalmaz, a psychotherapist of dual US-Syrian nationality, travelled to Damascus from Lebanon in order to visit relatives in 2017, where he was detained at a checkpoint and simply disappeared. He has not been seen or heard from by his friends and family ever since.

One of his five children, Maryam Kamalmaz, spoke to Britain’s Al-Monitor and pointed out that efforts to find her father have been unsuccessful. “We used some of the connections we have to locate him and see how he’s doing, and they weren’t able to find him,” she explained. “Then we tried asking around a little bit more and it seems that he has been moved, and nobody knows where the new location is.”

On her Twitter account, Maryam thanked Al-Monitor “for continuing to raise awareness of our father’s unjust imprisonment in Syria and our concern for him.” She said that this is particularly important in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Syria confirmed its first case on Sunday.

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Maryam Kamalmaz appealed for ongoing help in the search for her father. She provided her email account and said that, “We continue to request anyone who might know anything about our father to please contact us.”

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and its spread in the Middle East – especially in and from Iran – countries in the region have implemented strict measures such as mandatory curfews, the closure of mosques and public institutions and the shutting down of public transport. Prisoners have even been released in order to prevent them from becoming infected and spreading the virus in the confined and overcrowded spaces in prisons and detention centres.

Syria was the latest country to make the decision to grant amnesty and allegedly release all prisoners. Human rights lawyers have cast some doubt on this claim, though, especially with regard to the many political prisoners held by the regime in often appalling conditions.

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