“The Story of My Arrest and Accusation” – by Michel Kilo

"The Story of My Arrest and Accusation" – by Michel Kilo
This article originally appeared in Arabic on "Levant News"
Summary and Translation by Joe PaceMichel Kilo
for "Syria Comment"
Dec. 16, 2006

The article begins with Michel Kilo, Syria's most articulate opposition member, accusing the authorities of “misleading public opinion with the delusion that there is a terrifying conspiracy, with hidden threads, and that I am plotting it and that I am its center.” Kilo was arrested in May 2006 after signing the "Beirut-Damascus Declaration" and having led the Syrian opposition's attempts for unify its ranks.

His interrogators grilled him about the Beirut-Damascus Declaration. He says that they were polite and courteous at the branch and said that “my presence in the [security branch] did not detract from my value as a political, national thinker and as an intellectual known for integrity.”  True to his nationalist credentials, he says that his intentions were to better relations between Syria and Lebanon to prevent Israel and America from exploiting the rift. “I told the interrogators in the security [branch] that an essential element of the declaration which cannot be overlooked focuses on the praising of Syrian-Lebanese cooperation which led to the end of the Israeli occupation of the south, and the signatories demand that neither country become a pathway or headquarters against the other, and their insistence on unified efforts to liberate the Golan and all remaining occupied Lebanese land, and solidify the Syrian-Lebanese relationship…which would ensure their unity and make them immune from foreign penetration, destruction, or weakening.”   

Kilo recounts some of the back-and-forth in the interrogation.  They said that the Zionists and America supported the position outlined in Declaration since the March 14 contingent supported it.  Kilo responds: Washington and Tel Aviv want to drive a rift between Syria and Lebanon whereas the Declaration calls for the opposite.  They accused Kilo of siding with outside powers, noting the similarities between Resolution 1680 and the Declaration.  Kilo replies that any similarities are coincidental and that his purpose is anathema to the West’s since the West fears the very unity for which Kilo calls. 

He mentions that Professor Marwan al-Luji, the public prosecutor in Damascus forced four of the signers to sign a statement saying: “Michel Kilo agreed with Khaddam regarding the declaration in exchange for his immediate release.” On June 11, 2006, an article appeared in Ath-Thawra claiming that the investigation proved that he had met with Marwan Hamaada in Cyprus and took money to sign the Declaration. Kilo sent a letter to the newspaper contesting the story, but the newspaper refused to publish it. He tried to raise a suit, but the public prosecutor refused.  

The court ordered Michel’s release but the public prosecutor fabricated another case to keep him in prison and has prevented his defense team from contesting it. Despite being publicly accused of opening up channels of communications with Khaddam, the prosecutor has yet to issue that charge, or any other justifying his continued detention. Writes Kilo: “I told the judge of the second criminal court that I was being detained on one charge and being tried for another, an undeclared charge.  I demanded that they charge me with contacting Khaddam or whomever…” in order to contest it.  He reaffirms that the Declaration was for and by intellectuals and that it is neither allied with nor beholden to any party or political trend.  “It is not a declaration of incitement, but one of reconciliation whose sole purpose is to secure the Syrian-Lebanon relationship on proper grounds and repair a basis for Arab relations anew.” 

He points out the irony that they would accuse him of cooperating with Khaddam when he had written articles lambasting him when he was still Vice President and was in turn threatened with imprisonment. He recalls that he spoke out against Khaddam’s group at a Temporary Committee for the Damascus Declaration meeting and called him a “threat to the opposition because he moves the center of work and decision making outside of Syria.”   

He says that the Beirut-Damascus Declaration is not the reason for his arrest.  He says that the authorities are aware that he did not contact any hostile elements, that they have the recordings of the Committee meetings sessions evidencing his mistrust of Khaddam, and that he has never called for the initiation of hostilities against Syria.  The reason is that “there are those who want to take revenge on me because I am a symbol of the opposition, rational and socially accepted, and because I focused my efforts on succeeding in building a vision based on shared ground.”

For background on Kilo, read "Syria detains writer in dissident crackdown," by Ferry Biedermann of FT, May 15 2006
SyriaComment.com: Michel Kilo the Patriot

Comments (10)

annie said:

Xmas is close. Un geste svp. You can see he is innocent. Let him go.

December 16th, 2006, 5:05 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

Mr. Kilo must be released, he is honest , patriotic, has no connection to the silly Khaddam, nor to any foreign power.
as far as Mliki in Iraq, calling for the Iraqee officers to return to the army, this is excellent move, but must be followed by releasing Sultan Hashem,along with Taeq Aziz, giving him the power of heading the army,all what america did, so far, is strengthening iranian backed Shi-ah, if america wants to withdraw with dignity,not defeat,they have to shift their support to the sunneh,creating balance in Iraq, after all if the US wants to withdraw with dignity, rather than insurgents take over,a pro america Sunneh power,should take over.

December 16th, 2006, 6:52 pm


ivanka said:

Michel Kilo writes a very strong article filled with dignity. He defends himself very cleverly, especially when he stresses the fact that he is patriotic and against foreign plots to drive Lebanon away from Syria.


In a way, what you are saying is that the US should leave Iraq after restoring the situation that was there before they arrived. The old statu-quo that the neocons are so disdainful of. I do not think this is possible. Iraq has gone in another direction. Now it needs a strong central government but not one that bans Shia parties like Saddam used to do. This is not possible anymore as the Shia have gained a very big infcluence.

Ideally, people should listen to what Walid Moallem said in his interview : The Kurds should not secede, the Shias share power with the Sunnis, and the Sunnis not aspire to monopolize power again.

This is just ideally. They will continue to fight now.

December 16th, 2006, 8:19 pm


ivanka said:

And Mark my words, Michel Kilo is going to be a very important figure in Syria’s history.

December 16th, 2006, 8:22 pm


majedkhaldoun said:

I am not calling for return of Saddam, he is gone forever, I am advocating pro ameican sunneh goverment,this will be supported by KSA, Egypt and Jordan, where those countries can send troops to replace american army,Major General Sultan Hashem is not Bathist,he is well respected army commander from Mosul,we must put an end to the Iranian hegemony in the area.

December 16th, 2006, 8:41 pm


ivanka said:

I did not say you support the return of Saddam. But the Shia are armed, they are the majority and they are in the government. Bringing back an exclusively Sunni rule can only happen if all this newly aquired force of the Shias is destroyed. This is a very difficult thing. At worst, if Arab armies -like KSA and Egypt- go in to do this, they might end up fighting Iran. A repeat of the war in the 80s is not a desirable outcome, in my mind.

Of course the Insurgency, which represents the Iraqi army (the real one) and religious Sunni movements, is a very important player in Iraq. Nothing good will happen until it becomes part of the political process. This is a very important thing to remember : The insurgency is very strong and can not be ignored in Iraqi politics. It is almost one of the keys of the solution.

December 16th, 2006, 8:54 pm


Anonymous said:

يا للعار من بشار

December 17th, 2006, 4:54 am


Alex said:

ivanka said: (December 16th, 2006, 8:22 pm / #)

“And Mark my words, Michel Kilo is going to be a very important figure in Syria’s history.”

Can you tell us more?

December 17th, 2006, 5:50 am


Abdul Haq said:

All freedom-loving Syrians care about Kilo! We want him and all other political prisoners out of Asad’s jails, regardless of what Bush wants or does not want!!!

December 17th, 2006, 4:05 pm


Karim said:

Michel Kilo is Syria’s national hero at the same level of Yousif al Azmeh and Brahim Hanano.

December 17th, 2006, 11:39 pm


Post a comment

Neoprofit AI Immediate Venture Instant Prosperity