February 16, 2012 | By Maira Sutton

Syria Arrests Razan Ghazzawi and Eleven Other Activists in Renewed Crackdown of Online Dissent

Razan Ghazzawi and eleven of her colleagues at the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression were arrested today during a raid on their office. The Syrian Air Force's Intelligence Division in civilian dress and vehicles took the arrestees to an undisclosed location. This is the second time Ghazzawi has been arrested in the past few months; she was freed 15 days after the previous arrest. She is a U.S.-born Syrian who contributes to Global Voices Online and Global Voices Advocacy and has been an outspoken about her opposition to the Syrian regime. Mazen Darwish, the director of the organization and long time human rights advocate, was also one of those arrested. Here is a list of all of those detained:

  1. Mazen Darwish
  2. Razan Ghazzawi
  3. Rita Dayyoub
  4. Houssein Ghazeer
  5. Hani Zeitani
  6. Jwan Faraso
  7. Mayada Khaleel
  8. Maha Al-Sablati
  9. Hanadi Zahlout
  10. Sanaa Zeitani
  11. Hani Zeitani
  12. Yara Bader

These arrests may be a sign of broad new efforts to crack down on bloggers and activists amid the horrifying state violence against political dissidents in the past few weeks. The regime may also be planning to exploit the online network of those arrested to find other activists and bloggers, and to continue making arrests until they can silence all dissident voices. We have written previously about arrested Syrian bloggers, including Hussein Ghrer who was taken to prison in October and continues to await trial.

The international community should take notice of these alarming events unfolding in Syria and call on authorities to end their campaign of violence and extreme state oppression against their citizens.


For ongoing updates on these arrests, please check the hashtag #FreeRazan on Twitter.
You can also visit the Facebook page calling for her release.

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