Calls for investigation into the killing of an American doctor in Syrian regime prisons

Samar al-Hamwi, sister of Dr. Majd Kam Almaz, during a campaign demanding the release of detainees and the prosecution of the Syrian regime - July 4, 2023 (AP)

Samar al-Hamwi, sister of Dr. Majd Kam Almaz, during a campaign demanding the release of detainees and the prosecution of the Syrian regime - July 4, 2023 (AP)


US officials have called on President Joe Biden to condemn the death of Dr. Majd Kam Almaz in Syrian regime prisons and to open an investigation into the case.

The chairman of the Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia Affairs in Congress, Joe Wilson, has called for a criminal investigation into the abduction and forced killing of Almaz, who has been detained since 2017 at a regime checkpoint near Damascus.

In a letter dated Saturday, May 18, Wilson addressed Biden, stating, “We need a public condemnation of Dr. Kam Almaz’s death,” adding that the Justice Department should commence a criminal investigation and expressing regret that another American was killed by the Syrian regime.

In turn, the official spokesperson for the Bring Our Families Home Campaign, Jonathan Franks, expressed surprise at Biden’s silence and lack of comment on the killing of Dr. Kam Almaz.

Franks noted that members of the campaign are urging Biden and his administration to act quickly and use all tools to bring detainees home before another US hostage or detainee dies in captivity.

He hoped that the sudden death of Dr. Almaz would serve as an official reminder of the dangers faced by Americans when the government fails to act swiftly and decisively.

The Bring Our Families Home campaign consists of family members of Americans currently held as hostages or detained illegally outside of the United States.

The Hostage Aid organization (non-governmental) reiterated its call for President Biden and the American government to double their efforts to return the detainees to their country, stressing the need to bring back all Americans held illegally or as hostages abroad.

Seven years later

The Associated Press and The New York Times reported that American citizen Dr. Majd Kam Almaz died inside the prisons of the Syrian regime, after disappearing in Damascus seven years ago, according to his daughter Mariam, based on detailed intelligence information she obtained after meeting with eight “senior US officials.”

The officials told her that the accuracy of the information about her father’s death was nine out of ten, and Mariam said she asked if Washington had succeeded in recovering other detained Americans, to which she was told no.

Majd Kam Almaz disappeared in February 2017 at the age of 59 while traveling to Syria to visit an elderly family member. He was a psychiatrist holding both Syrian and American citizenship and was arrested at a regime checkpoint in Damascus in February 2017.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) estimates that there are 136,192 detainees in Syrian regime prisons, out of a total of 156,757 detainees in Syria, according to a report by the network last March.


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