December 12, 2011 | By Jillian York

EFF Calls for Release of Razan Ghazzawi

Update: According to her lawyers, Razan has been charged with "establishing an organization that aims to change the social and economical entity of the state" and "weakening the national sentiment, and trying to ignite sectarian strife" and "weakening national sentiment" -- all of which, according to Lebanon's Daily Star, can lead to a penalty of three to fifteen years in prison.

Syria's crackdown on opposition, condemned by the international community, has long extended to bloggers and journalists.  In August, prominent blogger Anas Maarawi made headlines for his arrest; he was released almost two months later after considerable international attention.  More recently, Hussein Ghrer was released on $1,000 bail, after spending a month and a half in prison without charge.  Numerous other bloggers, journalists and netizens remain imprisoned.

On Sunday, December 4, Razan Ghazzawi, a blogger who also works with the Syrian center for Media and Freedom of Expression, was arrested while en route to Amman, Jordan to attend a workshop on media freedom in the Arab world.  Ghazzawi is one of the few bloggers writing from inside Syria under her real name.  Her blog, Razaniyyat, covers a range of topics but has most recently focused on Syria's crackdown on bloggers; in her most recent post, she wrote about Hussein Ghrer, stating: "It’s all going to be alright, and it will all be over very soon."  Ghazzawi also tweets under the handle @RedRazan.

A campaign in support of Ghazzawi has been launched, with Twitter users adopting the hashtag #freerazan and a range of organizations, including Amnesty International, lobbying for her release. 

Razan Ghazzawi is being held for her personal beliefs and should be released immediately.  EFF calls for her release as well as the release of other detained Syrian netizens.


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