US human rights award Manchester-based Syrian refugee

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Amina Khoulani with Melania Trump and Mike PompeoImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Amina Khoulani travelled to Washington to receive the Women of Courage Award

A Syrian refugee living in Manchester has been honoured by the US government for her campaigning work with political prisoners and their families.

Amina Khoulani was named one of 11 women to win the US State Department's 2020 International Women of Courage Award.

Mrs Khoulani lives in Heald Green with her husband and three children.

She received the award in Washington from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and First Lady Melania Trump.

The State Department's citation described Mrs Khoulani as: "A survivor of the Assad regime's detention and torture centres, which have arbitrarily detained more than 140,000 Syrians.

"She has dedicated her life to helping the families of forcibly disappeared Syrians."

Mrs Khoulani was imprisoned for six months for "peaceful activism", the citation continued, while her husband was detained for two-and-a-half years at the "notorious Sadnaya Prison."

'Devastating experience'

Mrs Khoulani fled Syria in 2014 after her release from prison but her three brothers died behind bars.

But since the "devastating experience", Mrs Khoulani went on to "rededicate her life to seeking information and justice for the families of the disappeared".

She is a founding member of Families for Freedom, a women-led movement launched in 2017 by families whose relatives have come to harm in Syria.

The State Department added: "Forced from her home and country, living under constant threat as a refugee without government representation, Mrs Khoulani continues to advocate for human rights, democracy, and peace in Syria."

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