UN war crimes investigators called for the Syrian government to inform families of the fate of their relatives who were disappeared or detained by the regime, after officials confirmed that a Syrian-American woman who went missing in 2015 was executed a year later.
The UN’s demand comes amid news of the death of Syrian-American activist Layla Shweikani, who died in 2016 while detained by intelligence services.
Raised in Chicago, Shweikani travelled to Damascus in 2015 to help displaced people in Eastern Ghouta. She was detained in February 2016 and tortured for eight months before the US State Department approached Syrian Presidential Security Advisor Ali Mamlouk as to her whereabouts.
Shweikani was then transferred to Adra prison, a notorious facility known for its torture of female inmates. She reportedly met with a US delegate on 18 December 2016, who promised to do her best to help her.
Yet a week later a military judge ordered her execution after she was charged with “supporting terrorism”. According to Shweikani’s death certificate, she died two days later; the activist-run Syrian Revolution Network reported that she was tortured to death in prison.