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Khalil Maatouk

Syria Lawyer incommunicado detained and denied medical care

Khalil Maatouk has been exerting as human rights lawyer in Syria for many years, where prevailing environment is extremely hostile to fundamental human rights. He has provided legal assistance to thousands of political opponents, journalists, peaceful protestors and prisoners of conscience, including those tried by the Supreme State Security Court on exceptional jurisdiction before the jurisdiction was abolished in 2011. After the erupt of the unrest in March 2011, Khalil Maatouk played a leading role in defending civilians and peaceful activists presented before jurisdictions falling short of international standards.

In 2012, Khalil Maatouk was notably a member in the defense team of journalist and human rights defender Mazen Darwish and his colleagues from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM). Khalil Maatouk has been regularly publishing articles and legal studies on human rights issues, conducting critical analysis of Syrian domestic legal provisions, as for the non-compliance of Syria Criminal Codes with the Rome statute and other international legal instruments.

Due to his human rights work, Khalil Maatouk was constantly and directly exposed to harassment and interrogations by the State Security Apparatus. Since October 2nd 2012, Khalil Maatouk is being illegally detained by the Syrian government as he was arrested with a colleague at a government security checkpoint during his commute between his home in Sehnaya and his office in Damascus. His health is seriously at risk as he suffers from advanced lung disease and is denied medical care. It is believed that his detention is directly related to his legitimate peaceful work in defense of human rights.

In 2015, Khalil Maatouk ended second on the shortlist of the jury of the L4L Award.

In the video below, which was screened at the L4L Award 2015 ceremony, his colleague Anwar al-Bunni expresses his support to Khalil Maatouk. 

Latest news


Syria Joint statement for release of Khalil Ma’touq

05 Oct 16 On 4 October 2016, 31 organizations, including L4L, called for the immediate release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha. The two men disappeared four years ago, on 2 October 2012. Ma’touq, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists […]

Syria Joint statement for release of Khalil Maatouk

07 Oct 15 The Syrian government should immediately and unconditionally release the prominent human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk and his colleague Mohamed Zaza, 51 organizations, including L4L, said on 6 October 2015, three years after their arrest. Maatouk, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists for more than […]

News Syria


Syria Razan Zaitouneh missing for three years

09 Dec 16 Since human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband and two colleagues were abducted on 9 December 2013, no one has heard of them. Today, exactly three years after their disappearance, fifty-six organizations, L4L amongst them, called for their immediate release. Razan Zeitouneh, Wa’el Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hammadi disappeared in Douma, after group of armed men stormed […]

Syria Joint statement for release of Khalil Ma’touq

05 Oct 16 On 4 October 2016, 31 organizations, including L4L, called for the immediate release of Human Rights Lawyer Khalil Ma’touq and his assistant, Mohamed Thatha. The two men disappeared four years ago, on 2 October 2012. Ma’touq, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists […]

Syria Call for release of ‘Douma Four’ on birthday of Razan Zaitouneh

29 Apr 16 To mark the birthday of missing human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, today a large amount of organizations, including L4L, called for her immediate release, as well as that of her colleagues Samira Khalil, Nazem Hamadi and Wa’el Hamada. The four, also known as the ‘Douma Four’, were abducted on 9 December 2013 in Douma. Since […]

Syria Joint statement for release of Khalil Maatouk

07 Oct 15 The Syrian government should immediately and unconditionally release the prominent human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouk and his colleague Mohamed Zaza, 51 organizations, including L4L, said on 6 October 2015, three years after their arrest. Maatouk, director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, is a human rights lawyer who has been defending peaceful activists for more than […]

Syria Mazen Darwish released

11 Aug 15 On 10 August 2015, human rights defender Mazen Darwish was conditionally released following more than three years in prison.  Mazen Darwish is a human rights defender and journalist from Syria. Despite obtaining a law degree, he was never admitted to the Bar to work as a lawyer due to his human rights activities. In 2000, he founded the Syrian […]