- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Syria: Free Razan Ghazzawi

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Syria, Breaking News, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Politics, Technology

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011 [1].

Syrian authorities have arrested blogger Razan Ghazzawi on the Syrian-Jordanian border today. Ghazzawi was on her way to Amman to attend a workshop on press freedom in the Arab world when she was arrested. Her arrest has drawn criticism and anger from bloggers and activists around the world, who called for her immediate release.

Ghazzawi is a US-born Syrian blogger [2] and avid Twitter user, who has contributed to both Global Voices Online [3] and Global Voices Advocacy [4]. She is also one of the few bloggers in Syria who writes under her real name, advocating for the rights of bloggers and activists arrested by the Syrian regime, as well as the rights of gays and minorities.

A Free Razan poster put up by supporters as soon as news of her arrest spread

A Free Razan poster put up by supporters as soon as news of her arrest spread

Her last post [5], on December 1, 2011, celebrates the release of Syrian blogger Hussein Ghrer, who was held by the Syrian authorities for 37 days. She blogs:

Hussein is going to be home tonight, where he will be holding his wife tight, and never let go of his two precious sons again. It’s all going to be alright, and it will all be over very soon.

The irony is not lost among netizens, who raised the alarm after her arrest on social media platforms.

Syrian Razan Saffour tweets:

@RazanSpeaks [6]: Razan Ghazzawi used to raise awareness about detainees, write about them and support them. She has now become one of them. #FreeRazan #Syria

and adds:

@RazanSpeaks [7]: Thoughts and hearts are with you @RedRazan. One of the bravest people I have come to know on twitter. #FreeRazan #Syria

Fellow Syrian Sasa notes:

@syrianews [8]: Almost every tweet on my timeline now contains #FreeRazan. You hear us Syrian police? #FREERAZAN

And Global Voices colleague Syrian Anas Qtiesh recalls:

@anasqtiesh [9]: Razan introduced me to the wonderful @globalvoices team and she's the reason I joined as a translator author. #FreeRazan

Syrian Shakeeb Al Jabri vents off at the Arab League:

@LeShaque [10]: Hey Arab League. How's your ill-advised strategy working out? Still believe Bashar will reform? #Syria #FreeRazan

While Chanad Bahraini laments:

@chanadbh [11]: .@RedRazan, @alaa and @abdulemam were all at the first Arab Bloggers Meeting in Lebanon in 2008. Today they're jail or in hiding #FreeRazan

Veteran Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah [12] is being held in Egypt under trumped up charges and Bahraini blogger Ali Abdulemam [13] has been in hiding in Bahrain, where he too faces charges related to his blogging activism. Both are among the pioneering bloggers in their countries.

Meanwhile, trusted friends are managing her Twitter and Gmail accounts as well as her blog. Her Facebook page has also been deactivated by friends.

A recent tweet from her account reads:

@RedRazan [14]: Razan Is not anymore managing her twitter account, we, her friends and supporters are ! #FreeRazan

For more reactions on Ghazzawi's arrest, please check the hash tag #FreeRazan [15] on Twitter. A Facebook page [16] calling for her release is also up [ar].

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011 [1].