LITTLE ROCK (KATV) — It’s been two years and the family of Majd Kamalmaz continues to fight for the freedom of a man described as humble and selfless.
Family and community supporters gathered at the Arkansas Capitol on Sunday to reflect on the detainment of Kamalmaz and current efforts to rescue him from the Syrian government.
Kamalmaz, 61 years old, was detained by Syrian authorities in February 2017, just one day after arriving in the country’s capital Damascus.
He made the trip intending to visit relatives following the death of his father-in-law.
Instead, Kamalmaz fell into the hands of Syrian authorities.
“He is a kind loving humble being, human being, that has done nothing wrong and does not deserve to be detained and we pray that he will return back us very soon,” said Maryam Kamalmaz, daughter of Majd Kamalmaz.
Since then, the Kamalmaz family has been working with the U.S. State Department and relief organizations such as the Syrian Emergency Task Force to secure his release.
“Now that the Syrian government is denying having him, the State Department cannot do anything further,” Kamalmaz said.
Maryam sent a letter to President Donald Trump in October, hoping he could act on Majd’s imprisonment. But she’s yet to hear back.
Trump announced in December the withdrawal of 2,000 American troops from Syria, a move that’s received criticism from the Republican-controlled Senate.
Congressman French Hill recently expressed support for the family, sending a letter of his own to the president, which in part states: “The Assad government has an alarming history of unjustly detaining Americans…Your leadership to ensure the safe return of Mr. Kamalmaz is needed now more than ever.”
Kamalmaz was born in Syria but moved to the U.S. at a young age.
He studied psychology at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, owns property in Clinton and is a humanitarian therapist, aiding victims of wars and natural disasters around the globe.
Kamalmaz is also diabetic, which worries Maryam, as he remains jailed in Syria.
The Kamalmaz family has endured sleepless nights, holding onto hope so that perhaps one day, Majd may come home and embrace two of his youngest grandchildren for the first time.
“Thinking of what could be of his situation right and to know that’s back home safe with us would be a big blessing for us and for him,” Maryam said.
According to the Amnesty International, tens of thousands of people have been tortured or died in Syrian prisons since March 2011.