Aleppo – Syrian Cardiologist Moawyah al-Awad has been working in al-Quds hospital in Aleppo since 2012, yet he is now forced to operate from an undisclosed location after the original site has been destroyed by a deliberate Russian airstrike on 27th April 2016.
The last cardiologist in Aleppo’s eastern neighborhoods describes the situation in the city as “inescapable hell”.
The disastrous humanitarian situation in Aleppo led the doctor to file a suit against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights.
Awad said the idea to lodge a suit at the European court came after he felt helpless towards the situation in Aleppo. He explained to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that hospital staff worked daily surrounded by dead bodies, blood and injured civilians.
He added that he contacted a number of activists in Europe and they suggested that he launches a legal case against Russia for violating his and the patients’ human rights.
Awad’s case lodged with the European Court has been sent to the foreign ministries of the UK, France, U.S. and other European countries. It has also been provided to all relevant U.N. bodies and special rapporteurs.
British solicitor and human rights activist Gareth Peirce is representing Awad as well as Sajida Malik.
A press release about the case was disturbed to the media. It said: “Dr. Al-Awad’s case against Russia is brought to life not only on the basis of its violation of his right, and that of his patients (Article 2 of The Convention), but Article 3 as well – that its actions inflict inhuman and degrading treatment is unarguable.”
When asked about the use of such a case, Awad said that he doesn’t expect for this lawsuit to change the course of the Syrian crisis, but it will expose Russia’s violations.
The Syrian regime had targeted the hospital and its staff since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, over 600 medical staffers have been killed in the past few years.
When asked if he feared for his life, Dr. Awad said he doesn’t expect the lawsuit to increase the chances of being targeted as all medical staffs workers are already considered a target of the Syrian regime and Russia.
The case relies on U.N. Chief Humanitarian Official Stephen O’Brien’s testimony on 29th September describing the circumstances in Aleppo. O’Brien said: “Let me be clear, east Aleppo this minute is not at the edge of the precipice, it is well into its terrible descent into the pitiless and merciless abyss of a human catastrophe unlike any we have witnessed in Syria. Syria is bleeding. Its citizens are dying. We all hear their cry for help”.
The European Court for Human Rights was established on 21 January, 1959 on the basis of Article 19 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It hears applications alleging that a contracting state has breached one or more of the human rights provisions concerning civil and political rights set out in the Convention and its protocols. An application can be lodged by an individual, a group of individuals or one or more of the other contracting states, and, besides judgments, the Court can also issue advisory opinions.