Syrian authorities have freed prominent blogger Razan Ghazzawi, along with six other female activists arrested last week during a security raid on the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, located in central Damascus and headed by rights activist Mazen Darwish.
It was her sister Nadine who confirmed the news on Twitter: “@NadineGhazzawi: #FreeRazan #Syria Sister is home…but she can’t leave the country anymore…they won’t allow her”.
The arrest is yet another sign of the efforts deployed by the government to crack down on bloggers and activists and to put out all social media platforms supporting the revolution.
The women were released late Saturday, while other male activists from the same group, including Darwish, remain in custody.
Razan and the other women were ordered to report to the police on daily basis in order to pursue their interrogation. According to human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni, the authorities are investigating the sources of information used by the center, as well as its origin of funding.
Since the start of the Syrian uprising, nearly a year ago, Razan, an English literature graduate from Damascus University, has been arrested (and freed) twice, becoming a symbol of the opposition to the Assad’s regime. Her first arrest last December took place by the border while on her way to attend a conference in Jordan.
The U.S.-born Syrian blogger is known for her fierce criticism of the Syrian government, mostly expressed on her blog Razaniyyat (razanghazzawi.com),
and via her twitter account @RedRazan.
Ghazzawi currently works at the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression where she was reportedly arrested last week. Many believe the blogger was released (twice) thanks to propagated media and online campaigns that drew attention to her situation and possibly because she carries a U.S. passport as well.
In one of her latest blog posts Razan wrote: “People who do not live in a country that is living a revolution may not know that time, is revolutionaries’ biggest enemy.”