On the Demise of a Dear Friend and Colleague Hassan Kamel “Abu Jalal.” You Noble Syrian, Farewell…

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression mourns, with great sadness and sorrow, the death of a friend and colleague, Hassan Kamel “Abu Jalal,” who passed away on 17th February 2024 in France, where he had been living in exile for years with his family, after a long and courageous battle with illness

Our friend and colleague Hassan Kamel was born in1959. He has engaged in political activities since his early years of youth, adopting the values of justice and defending political, civil, and democratic freedoms. This led to his first arrest in the 1980s, which lasted for seven years.

Years of imprisonment did not break our departed friend; Rather, he continued his political activity after his release, committing to democratic national change and advocating for human rights. He was one of the key figures during the Damascus Spring in 2000, and everyone remembers his contributions and dedication to achieving peaceful democratic change during that period of vibrant political activism, followed by arrests and repression. However, that did not deter our colleague from exerting effort despite facing countless security risks.

Our departed friend joined the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression in 2007, volunteering as the executive director, dedicating his effort, time, and experience to an organisation he believed i, valuing its mission, role, and principles.

Between 2007 and 2010,  a politically and legally critical and foundational period in the Syrian context in terms of human rights, our late colleague contributed to strengthening the role and status of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. He worked primarily on implementing the center’s strategy then, emphasizing civil and human rights as fundamental rights for Syrian society, regardless of the Syrian authorities’ legal restrictions. That period witnessed many public activities and events that were met with repression by the authorities. Then, the Center issued two studies on monitoring the performance of the media during the legislative and presidential elections and a report on censorship in Syria, launched a campaign to amend the media law, and adopted the Kurdish language as one of the official languages at the center.

Throughout these milestones, our departed colleague left his indelible mark, remembered by his peers for his commitment and dedication. This commitment and dedication led him once again to be arrested on 14th January 2008, alongside his colleague Mazen Darwish, the founder and general director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression. This stage simultaneously witnessed the closure of the center’s headquarters in Damascus in 2009 by the State Security Service in Syria, and all its contents were confiscated.

Despite the security restrictions and travel ban, our friend and colleague, Hassan Kamel, remained committed to human rights causes. After the outbreak of the popular uprising in 2011, he was among the first to support its demands for change, rule of law, and freedoms. His colleagues, activists and many of the youths of the uprising remember his immense hope and optimism as he stood alongside a new generation demanding change, freedom, and the rule of law.

During the early days of the popular uprising, Hassan Kamel offered his organizational and political experience to the youth and activists, participating in establishing the Local Coordination Committees that included a broad spectrum of opposition members, human rights activists, and aspiring youth seeking change.

Throughout his life, our departed colleague was a role model of commitment to freedom causes, a resilient activist who was not broken by prisons, security threats, or exile. Until his last breath, he defended the rights of the people he believed in and belonged to.

The memory of ‘Abu Jalal’ will remain among us, as will his smile and noble spirit. His commitment will continue to motivate us to defend freedoms, democracy, and human rights.

The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression extends its deepest condolences to the family of our esteemed colleague and friend and all his colleagues and friends. We affirm that his memory will remain with us, adorned with roses and laurels.