Syrian Filmmaker Nidal Hassan Still Missing; France Calls for His Release

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by Anthony Kaufman
November 17, 2011 1:17 PM
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On November 3rd, renowned Syrian filmmaker Nidal Hassan ("Three Stories of Life, Love and Death," "Flint Mountains") was arrested on his way to visit authorities to obtain his passport to attend the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX 2011). He has not been heard from since.

In the first case of an official governing body calling attention to Hassan's disappearence, France has called for the filmmaker's release, according to the ISRIA.com news service:

"The recent waves of arrests show that the Syrian regime does not intend to put an end to the bloody crackdown, despite the international community’s demands and the commitments that it made to the Arab League on November 2," reads the report. "France notably wishes to express its concern following the disappearance of Nidal Hassan on November 3, and calls for his immediate release."

According to the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights, it is believed Hassan was "abducted by the security services due to his support" of anti-government protests. Since the country's protests began as part of the Arab Spring, the U.N. reports that Syrian authorities have killed more than 3,500 people.

Born in Tartous, Syria in 1973, Hassan's credits include the feature film "Salty Skin" (2003), and the documentary "Flint Mountains," which focuses on Hikmat Adraa “Abu Beram,” an architect and sculptor by nature, who has abandoned his family to collect stones and rocks from the area that surrounds his village; it is described by CPH:DOX as "the chronicle of the fascination of man with nature; the passion of an artist that drives him eventually to isolation."

Filmmaker Magazine's blog first brought the director's predicament to my attention. But it looks like more needs to be more done to raise awareness for his disappearence.

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