From the Editors
Razan Ghazzawi: Imprisoned Syrian Blogger and Recipient of Human Rights Defender at Risk Award (Video)
[The following video and statement were produced by Front Line Defenders as part of their Human Right Defender at Risk Award.]
Razan Ghazzawi is a Syrian human rights activist and blogger who has been arrested and released on two occasions in the last few months. Following several threats she was arrested for the first time on 4 December 2012 at the Syrian-Jordanian border as she was on her way to attend a workshop on media and freedom of expression in the Arab world. She was released after two weeks.
She was rearrested again on 16 February together with a number of her colleagues from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM). Human rights defenders in Syria have faced harassment, arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, prolonged imprisonment, torture and 'disappearance' by Syrian security forces for many years but there has been an increase in repression as a result of the brutal crackdown against protesters in the country. Online monitoring and censorship of the internet is commonplace, with frequent allegations that the government has blocked access to internet sites used by human rights defenders. The government has banned hundreds of human rights defenders from travelling abroad and prominent human rights defenders have been arrested on their return to Syria after travelling abroad to attend conferences and workshops on human rights issues.
Since the start of the Syrian uprising, nearly a year ago, Razan, an English literature graduate from Damascus University, has become a symbol of the opposition to the Government and their repression. She is known for her fierce criticism of the Syrian government, mostly expressed on her blog Razaniyyat (razanghazzawi.com), and via her twitter account @RedRazan.
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