Update (Dec 19): I just received a final update on Razan’s situation from my friend Natalie. Good news:

I just wanted to send a final update that yesterday, after 2 weeks being held in prison in Syria, Razan was released and met by her family. A mutual friend spoke to her yesterday and has said she sounds well.

Thank you to everyone who sent letters, signed petitions, and offered your help and support in other ways.

ditto! :-)

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Update (Dec 18): Razan’s sister Nadine has just tweeted their family is en route to pick up Razan :-) :-) :-)

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Update (Dec 12): It was reported today in Lebanon’s Daily Star that Razan has been charged with three crimes, all of which essentially reduce to questioning the Syrian government amidst its brutal crackdown against Syrians who are pushing for democratic change and greater civil freedoms in their country.

For those who have not done so yet, please sign the petition calling for her release, and join the facebook page calling for the same here.

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Original post (Dec 6): Amidst the ongoing uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorial rule over the people of Syria, thousands of peaceful activists have been massacred and even a greater number have been illegally detained and imprisoned. On Sunday Dec. 4th, Syrian human rights activist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi was detained in such a manner.

While of course we hope for all those detained in Syria to be freed, this particular event hit a little closer to home. My friend Natalie met Razan in Beirut last year, and is deeply worried for her safety. She asked myself and others to send out the following appeal on Razan’s behalf, as well as to publicize the following petition for Razan’s release:

Sign the petition here.

Razan’s blog can be found here.

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Hi friends and family,

I am writing to ask you, if you are able, to please write a letter or email in support of my friend Razan who was arrested yesterday in Syria.

Razan Ghazzawi is a human rights activist and blogger who was on her way to a conference in Amman Jordon on Media and Freedom of Expression in the Arab World when she was arrested by border guards at the Syrian-Jordanian Border. She has not been charged with any crime and is thus considered a prisoner of conscience.

I met Razan in Beirut in April 2011, and was impressed with her sharp political analysis and her intrepid conviction. Razan has been a vocal blogger about the current regime in Syria, and as I’m sure you are all aware, journalists and social media producers have been especially targeted, followed, arrested, detained, tortured, and mistreated. In cases of political detention, quick action from the international community can have a major impact on the release of political prisoners.

If you are able, please take the time to write to the President of Syria and the Minister of the Interior whose fax numbers appear below. Urge them to follow international law and to release Razan immediately and without consequence. Below is a sample letter that can be copied and pasted. If it is easier, you can also email the Syrian ambassador to Canada at ambassador@syrianembassy.ca

Thank you for taking the time to help… I know these requests come often and there are countless more people being detained, tortured and mistreated in Syria as we speak. All I can say is that Razan’s arrest has hit me closer to home than I am used to, and I am deeply concerned about her well-being.

Sincerely,
Natalie

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PLEASE SEND APPEALS TO:

President
Bashar al-Assad
Presidential Palace
Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 332 3410
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Interior
Major General Mohamed Ibrahim al-Sha’aar
Ministry of Interior
‘Abd al-Rahman Shahbandar Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 113 110 554
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Walid al-Mu’allim
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates
Al-Rashid Street
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
Fax: +963 11 214 625 12 / or 3

SAMPLE LETTER:

December 5th, 2011

To: President Bashar al-Assad, Syrian Arab Republic

CC: Minister of the Interior, Major General Mohamed Ibrahim
al-Sha’aar, Syrian Arab Republic; Minister of Foreign Affairs and
Expatriates, Walid al-Mu’allim, Syrian Arab Republic; Honorary
Consular to Toronto, Mr.Yasser Kherdaji

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you in order to express my concern over the arrest of Razan Ghazzawi.

On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by border officers at the Jordon-Syrian border on her way to attend a conference on Freedom of Media in the Arab World, as a representative for the
Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

Razan Ghazzawi, a human rights activist and blogger, has not been charged with any crime and is thus a prisoner of conscience according to international law. Credible and internationally respected human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have voiced concerns about the use of torture and the abuse of human rights occurring in Syrian prisons and detention centres. These reports have prompted serious concerns for the safety of Razan and other Syrian prisoners of conscience.

I am calling on the Syrian government to order the immediate and unconditional release of Razan Ghazzawi.

I urge the Syrian authorities to immediately clarify the reason, legal basis and place of detention of Razan Ghazzawi; to cease holding her incommunicado and allow her immediate access to her family, legal counsel of her own choosing, and any medical attention she may require; and to ensure that she is protected against torture or other ill-treatment.

I thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.

Sincerely,
[your name]

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