28 November 2011, 9:42am

From Laurent Le Vaguerèse, Oedipe
Message of thanks from the family and relatives of Rafah Nached

We, family members and friends of Rafah Nached, extend our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to all members of the university and psychoanalytic community who rallied on five continents to contribute to the release of Rafah. We were extremely touched by the mobilization that has crystallized around the community of Œdipe.org and by the tremendous ripple effect that the Support Committee for the Liberation of Rafah Nached managed to orchestrate. We wish to express our thanks to all those who organized the many expressions of support, petitions and publications to obtain her release.
Rafah now needs to recover from the ordeal, but we are convinced that as soon as circumstances permit she will have the opportunity to express her gratitude more directly.



25th November 2011

Message of thanks from the family and friends of Rafah Nached

‘Following the release of Rafah Nached we, the family members and friends of Rafah, wish to express our deepest and most heartfelt thanks to all the great players in the chain of outrage and solidarity expressed over the last two months, which, on November 16, allowed us to breath a deep sigh of relief.
Naturally, our thanks go to the entire international scientific community and especially the psychoanalytic community, which, first in France and then gradually throughout the world, has always helped to keep alive the intense mobilization. We wish to express our deep gratitude to the eloquent spokesmen of "a racket for Rafah" and to all members of the political and diplomatic personnel, who, in France, Europe and worldwide, contributed their energy, determination and ability to relay messages for her release with conviction. We also wish to thank Mrs Carla Bruni-Sarkozy for her decision to use her immense fame to support the struggle for Rafah’s release. To all, know that your support, words of comfort and expressions of friendship have been invaluable to get through this ordeal.
Rafah has not yet had the joy of holding her first grandchild in her arms, but, thanks to you, with your great mobilization and unquenchable determination you have shown that the prospect of this meeting is again possible and will happen as soon as Rafah has recovered all her rights as a Syrian citizen (including her passport). She will also have the opportunity to express her immense gratitude more directly.’

21 November 2011, 15:19
Message from Laurent Le Vaguerèse, Oedipe
Some News Following the Release of Rafah Nached

We are all full of joy following the release of psychoanalyst Rafah Nached. However, every one of us must be conscious of the fact that her situation, as well as that of her colleagues, is very fragile. Her passport has been confiscated and she remains under surveillance. We have to remain absolutely attentive and make sure that she is not threatened. However, we can all rejoice in the fact that she is in good health and that her morale is excellent. We will soon have the possibility of sending you a message from her.

16th november 2011




Rafah Nached is free. Many thanks to all. More details tomorrow.

Laurent Le Vaguerèse

12 November 2011


The Arab League is meeting today in Cairo with the aim of finding a way out of the situation in Syria. A number of organisations have been sending messages to draw the Arab League’s attention to the many different cases of people being detained in Syria. We can join them by sending a mail in English using the following model to the addresses below. 

'The Syrian psychoanalyst Rafah Nached was arrested Saturday 10 September at 1.30 a.m. Damascus time by the Syrian intelligence services. We do not know the reasons for her arrest. She is currently detained in Damascus’ women’s prison. Rafah Nached’s professional engagement has always been of a scientific and humanitarian nature. We are appealing to the representatives of the Arab League to demand her release.'

arableague@aol.com; arabstat.dept@las.int; asiaaust.dept@las.int; multilateral.dept@las.int; familyhealth.unit@las.int; woman.unit@las.int; communication.dept@las.int; family.dept@las.intamericas.dept@las.int; io.dept@las.int; security.dept@las.int; ns.dept@las.int; missions.dept@las.int; environment.dept@las.int; trade.dept@las.int; esres.dept@las.int; complaint.dept@las.int; inspection.dept@las.int population.dept@las.int; youthsp.dept@las.int; military.dept@las.int; ecorelation.dept@las.int; arelations.dept@las.int; civilsoc.dept@las.int; protocol.dept@las.int; Aou.dept@las.int; conference.dept@las.int; europe.dept@las.int; humanrights.dept@las.int; civildialogue.dept@las.int; Shoun.arabiyya@las.int; basicservices.dept@las.int; alcouncil.dept@las.int; research.dept@las.int; ajaa.dept@las.int; legal.dept@las.int; healthhum.dept@las.int; central.mail@las.int; socialdev@las.int; socculture.sector@las.int; ecosocial.dept@las.int; media_general.dept@las.int; gs.secretary@las.int; info.sect@las.int; control.sector@las.int; coordination.committee@las.int; psc.dept@las.int; press.dept@las.int; sg.cabinet@las.int; political.dept@las.int; sgdep.cabinet@las.int  

If you want to associate yourself with the larger movement concerned with all the prisoners being currently illegally detained in Syria, please do this in a separate mail. 



The Arab League has given Syria three days to end its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and implement an Arab peace deal or face suspension from the regional body.

In a statement read in Cairo on Saturday by Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatari prime minister, the league said it would "suspend Syrian delegations' activities in Arab League meetings" and implement "economic and political sanctions against the Syrian government".

The Arab League also called on its member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus and threatened to recognise the Syrian National Council, a broad-based opposition group, if Syria does not refrain from the "continued killing" of civilians.

Watch the Al Jazeera news report here.

11 November 2011


The US-based charity Human Rights Watch has issued a report documenting allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the city of Homs and is calling for Syria to be referred to the International Criminal Court. It also wants sanctions to be imposed against the authorities in Damascus. The UK Director, David Mepham, said that the charity had found that the "overwhelming majority of people killed were innocent civilians, unarmed civilians".

Watch the BBC news report here.

02 November 2011

Foreign Secretary commends Arab League efforts on Syria

Foreign Secretary William Hague: "The first step must be to stop the violence and repression, without which all other measures are meaningless."

Commenting on the Arab League’s announcement that the Syrian government had agreed to the Arab League’s plan for addressing the situation in Syria, the Foreign Secretary said:

“I commend the Arab League’s efforts in pursuing this initiative to stop the violence in Syria.

“As the Arab League has made clear, it is vital that the plan is implemented quickly and fully.  Action should be verifiable and sustained.  The first step must be to stop the violence and repression, without which all other measures are meaningless. We continue to believe that President Assad should step aside and allow the Syrian people to realise their aspirations for greater freedom, dignity and a more open political system.”

28th October 2011

IRCT calls for immediate release of Dr. Rafah Nached from Syrian detention

'The IRCT calls for the immediate release of Syrian psychoanalyst Rafah Nached, who was arrested last month at Damascus Airport and has since been held in solitary confinement.

We are highly concerned about this arbitrary arrest, and more urgently, her condition in detention in Syria. Nached, a well-known psychoanalyst who treats victims of trauma, is in her 60s and has a heart condition that requires constant monitoring and medications. Reports have indicated that her condition has worsened significantly while in detention.

Yesterday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for Nached’s immediate release. As her health and well-being are surely at risk from solitary confinement and detention in her condition, we call for the immediate implementation of this act.
Ms. Nached is considered among the first psychoanalysts from Syria, and has focused her work on addressing the needs of those experiencing serious trauma. Her colleagues around the world have also protested this arrest, and in addition, pointed out that she has never been associated with political subversion. At the time of her arrest, she was set to board a plane for Paris, where her daughter was about to give birth.

In the last several months, the Syrian government has detained several hundred, if not thousands of individuals, many of which, like Nached, are held incommunicado for days or weeks at a time. Experts in the country also point to the brutal and systematic persecution and torture of human rights defenders in Syria.

In support of the European Parliament resolution, we call for the Syrian government to immediately release Ms Nached’s from detention.'

For further information about IRCT. please click here.

31st October 2011


To all signatories of the petition demanding the release of Rafah Nached

Dear signatory,

The situation in Syria continues to evolve and the regime gradually loses significant support. China, which had been part of the states that have prevented a vote on a UN motion condemning Syria for its violation of human rights, has now denounced the abuses of the Syrian regime.
The European Parliament's vote is also an important development. We invite those who have received a response from their MEP to write a letter of thanks for their vote on this motion, requesting also to be kept informed about any actions taken following the vote and the possible reactions of the Syrian authorities.
Following the meeting of the Support Committee, we ourselves will send a letter to that effect to the leaders of French and European parliamentary groups.
The news we have received about Rafah Nached through Houriya Abdelouahed, who is in frequent contact with her family, is particularly reassuring with regard to her health and morale.
Health wise her blood pressure is now stable, but her cholesterol level continues to be high.
With regard to her morale, Rafah Nached continues her fight for psychoanalysis. She has been working with women prisoners and their children and has asked her husband to bring toys to enable her to undertake this work with children imprisoned with their mothers.
Faisal (Rafah’s husband) thanks all those who have signed the petition and continue to mobilize. On the one hand, Rafah is frowned upon (by the Siryan regime); on the other, this mobilization of friends and colleagues prevented the latter from condemning her to silence and disappearance.
Each week, Faisal said, it is hoped that she will be released. If this does not happen next week she will celebrate her birthday in prison. We are making available an email address where you can write to her, especially on the occasion of her birthday: ecrireoedipe@gmail.com.
Thank you all for continuing to pay attention to Rafah Nached’s situation and for supporting our efforts to obtain her release.

Regards to you all,

Laurent Vaguerèse

24th October 2011

Rafah Nached’s Case Debated by European Parliament on 27th October 2011

Rafah Nached's case will be debated by the European Parliament at 3pm on 27th October 2011. Following the debate (at 4pm) the EP will vote on a resolution. The proposals for resolution of various political groups and the text of the resolution adopted on Friday morning will be available during the week. The final plan on the agenda of the session is available on the website of the European Parliament.

The debate will be shown live on the websites of Séance En Direct and EbS+ Channel.

To read what seems to have triggered the debate, please click here.

26th October 2011

Six motions for resolutions were submitted on 24th October, all asking for Dr Nached's unconditional and immediate release. The deadline for amemndements to these is 2pm on 26th October. Further, on 24th October seven motions were submitted for the debate on the 'Situation in Egypt and Syria, in particular of the Christian communities'. One of these, B7-0551/2011:

'Calls for the stepping down of Bashar al Assad whose regime has lost any legitimacy after the ongoing persistent ruthless crack-down on the Syrian population; takes the view that his resignation would pave the way and facilitate the transition process which should be based on a credible and inclusive dialogue involving all democratic forces andcomponents of Syrian society with a view to launching a process of deep democratic reforms'.

To access the motions for resolutions for the debate and vote on the case of Rafah Nached, click on the links below.


27th October 2011

A joint resolution was submitted yesterday. This replaces the six resolutions submitted on 24th October. To access the joint resolution click here.

27th October, 5pm

The joint resolution has been adopted with a clear majority: 63 out of 65 votes.

Recording of afternoon session. Debate about Dr Nached and votes can be found approximately in the last third of the video.

This is a very important development! What actions could you take to support this campaign?'

  • Urgently write to the Foreign Secretary:

    Rt Hon William Hague, MP
    Foreign Secretary
    Foreign & Commonwealth Office,
    King Charles Street,
    SW1A 2AH

  • Urgently circulate this news as widely as possible with a link to this webpage
  • Ask for this news and a link to this webpage to be posted on the website of your organisation.
  • Sign the petition.

By Elisabeth Roudinesco, Tuesday 13 September 2011, 11:05

We have just learned with dismay of the arrest of the psychoanalyst Rafah Nached on Saturday, September 10 at 1am at the Damascus airport in Syria. Nached, 66 years old, and in fragile health, was travelling to Paris for the birth of her granddaughter.
Rafah Nached is the first Syrian woman analyst. She has been practicing in Damascus for over 26 years, confronting clinical and theoretical issues with the highest standards and unfaltering patience.
She studied philosophy and graduated in Clinical Psychology from the University of Paris 7. She created the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis in conjunction with many French psychoanalysts and organized, in November 2010, the first international conference in Damascus, an event of outstanding scientific quality.
Rafah Nached comes regularly to Paris to meet with psychoanalysts and to follow the latest developments concerning psychiatry and the functioning of hospitals. She has established ongoing bonds with the French Red Cross in order that members of her Psychoanalytic School can have access to training based on official agreements with the medical-psychological-pedagogical Centers of the French Red Cross.
She has always put her professional and human skills - of whose amplitude we are well aware - to the service of Syria, her country, to which she is profoundly committed.

The peers and colleagues of the psychoanalyst Rafah Nached call for her release.





Many thanks to Maria Adelaide Ferrari-Revelli for her help with this translation

Does the Freudian revolution frighten Bachar Al-Assad’s regime? Since Saturday 10th September Syrian psychoanalyst Rafah Nached rots in one of its prisons. Arrested at Damascus airport by the moukhabarrat, the political police, where she was waiting to board a plane to Paris to be present at the birth of her first grandchild, this renown woman — who in the ’80 was the first psychoanalyst in Syria, and whose only known commitment is to her patients — on 14th September was accused ‘of activities likely to destabilise the State’.


According to her husband, who has been able to visit her at the women’s prison in a Damascus’ suburb, her health status is satisfactory, notwithstanding her heart condition. But the nature of the accusation and the paranoia that has gripped the regime — for the last six month subjected to an opposition that shows no signs of decreasing — raise fear of a lengthy detention, aimed at intimidating the Syrian intellectual community.

Within the Parisian psychoanalytic milieu — in which during the ‘70s Rafah Nached studied, and within which she has many friends — her arrest has raised a wave of indignation. In a few hours a petition available through the website Mediapart demanding her ‘immediate release’ has gathered the support of the French psychoanalytic world, Freudian and Lacanian.

The Qaui d’Orsay has also reacted, condemning ‘the disregard for the most basic human rights’ showed by the Syrian regime. A friend of the family remarks: ‘To imprison a 66 year old woman, who was part of no political movement and whose only ambition is humanitarian and scientific, denotes Assad’s regime unprecedented level of anxiety about its survival’.

The husband learned of her arrest thanks to a telephone call from the airport, where the woman was patiently waiting at passports control: ‘They are carrying out edgy controls. They have some lists... They have taken my passport...’ A silence, then some noise, some agitation and these words: ‘Madam... take this away’. At this point the communication was interrupted.

The husband — an eminent historian and regular envoy of the Collège de France in Paris, the temple of academic knowledge, but who insists that his name should not be mentioned — then rushes to the airport. Having verified with Air France that Rafah did not board the plane, he goes from office to office in search of information about his wife. He goes to the Police, then to Security, then to General Security, then to Customs Inspection. Finally, at the end of the night, he comes to a standstill in the office of the chief commander of the Airport Police. But here too no information: ‘Our services have not registered your wife’s crossing’, he says. The conclusion comes of its own accord: Rafah Nached has been taken by the moukhabarrat, the security service that leaves no trace.


Since that day, the family tries to understand. Why her? What could Assad’s regime reproach to this small, rounded woman with shiny eyes, this distinguished patriot and cook?

As her entourage confirms, Rafah Nached’s trajectory is not that of an opponent to the regime. In 1985, when she establishes herself in Damascus after the Parisian years, her commitment is to psychoanalysis, not politics. The climate of the time is heavy; the Lebanese civil war causes rage. The president Hafez Al-Assad, father of the current head of State, keeps society under strict control. Its prisons are already filled with left activists and Muslims. Rafah’s answer is clinical. She seeks to introduce Freudian theory into the country, notwithstanding the suspicion this may raise in a regime obsessed with the control of consciences. Helping people to live: this will be her struggle.

The clinic she opens in her small apartment in Al-Adawi, a commercial quarter of Damascus, soon attracts some patients — children and adult men and women, a sample representative of the Syrian population and its divisions, both religious and political. ‘She kept herself at a distance from both, opposition and power’, one of her French friends explains.

Year after year, she resists the wall of suspicion. She guesses that her seminars are attended not only by students. She knows that her couch also draws to itself the ears of the regime. But she insists, navigating through the rocks, and her practice produces some colleagues. Today there are a dozen psychoanalysts practising in Syria, with whom she has funded the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis.

When in March the revolution explodes at Derraa, in the south of the country, she again responds as an assistant to suffering. With Jesuits from Damascus, she organises some groups open to citizens of all persuasions: an apolitical space, in which to verbalise the anxiety produced by the violence that is ravaging the country, in which to maintain inter-communitarian dialogue.

But for the Syrian authorities the red line has been crossed. To free the word within a State that practices enchaining and gagging: the paradox is unacceptable.

Benjamin Barthe




‘…Rafah Nached has been put in the shadow and reduced to silence because she wanted to help young Syrians — from all ethnic, political and religious communities — to find words for the trauma caused to them by the situation, to articulate through dialogue their fear of the other and their anxieties about the future...

Rafah Nached's letter from prison (video)

Free Syria's Leading psychoanalyst Rafah Nached (video)

Syria - Inside the Secret Revolution (BBC 1, Panorama, Mon 26 Sep 2011)








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