The report, released in October 2011, said relatives of Syrian
dissidents abroad have been detained and tortured. Amnesty said Western
countries have also failed to stop the intimidation by Syrian diplomats,
including visits to the homes of dissidents.
In Canada, Syrian diplomats were said to have pressured the Syrian
community to attend pro-Assad demonstrations. In the United States,
anti-Assad demonstrators were filmed and their relatives in Syria
"Among the Syrian protesters there are people put amongst us who are
working with the embassy [in Washington]," Mohammed Al Abdullah, an
opposition activist, told Amnesty. "Sometimes you can see one with an
earpiece or microphone, saying something like 'Film that man in the red
In France, Syrian embassy staffers were said to have attacked opposition
protesters. One of the victims, Rabee Al Hayek, said about 10 people
attacked an anti-Assad demonstration in Paris on Aug. 26 and avoided arrest
when they told police they possessed diplomatic immunity.
"At that time there were three plain-clothed police officers there, and
they called other police who quickly arrived," Al Hayek recalled. "They told
us to be calm, that the police will be in control of the matter, and that
two of the aggressors have diplomatic passports and therefore no action can
be done towards those two."
In Britain, authorities have failed to stop visits to and threats by
Syrian embassy staffers against opposition activists. Amnesty said Syrian
representatives warned the dissidents that they would be executed if they
return to their homeland.
"According to Syrians living in the UK, the Syrian authorities have
waged a campaign of harassment and intimidation against them and family
members in Syria," the report said. "They have told Amnesty International
that Syrian embassy staff have filmed and photographed protests outside the
embassy and protesters who have been invited inside the embassy; telephoned
protesters and visited them at their homes in the UK and made threats
against them, including that they would face the death penalty on return to
Syria and that their families in Syria would be harmed; and encouraged them
to spread pro-regime propaganda and join pro-regime rallies."