Khalil Maatouk, a lawyer and human rights defender, was born in 1959 in Talkalakh, Homs. A graduate of Damascus University, he has had a storied career defending political prisoners from regime injustices, and advocating for human rights and social justice in Syria. He has represented thousands of Syrians legally- from political opponents of the regime, journalists and activists- in work that has spanned decades.
Maatouk was visibly present at vital junctures in the historical struggle for a more equitable Syria. In 2004, he campaigned for the release of Kurdish Activists indicted in the Qamishli uprising. He would years later represent activists imprisoned due to their support of the Beirut- Damascus Declaration and the Damascus Spring. He has carried his legacy forward mentoring other famed human rights lawyers and activists, such as Mazen Darwish and Michel Shammas
With the dawn of the Syrian revolution, Khalil naturally represented a multitude of activists and protestors apprehended by the regime in court. He headed a committee for the release of staff and visitors detained at the Syrian Center for Media and Expression in 2012.
Maatouk was apprehended later that year on his way to work, with a colleague Mohammed Zaza, at a regime checkpoint. Information with regards to his well being and life has been withheld by security forces since. He has been witnessed by detainees to be held by the regime at air force intelligence branches, the Palestine branch of Military Intelligence, and later Saydnaya. His daughter Ranim, a member of the Families for Freedom campaign, is still calling for his release from detention nine years later.