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Freedom House Condemns Arrest of Syrian Blogger Razan Ghazzawi
Freedom House condemns the arrest of Syrian-American activist and blogger Razan Ghazzawi December 3 while on her way to a media freedom conference in Amman, Jordan and calls for her immediate release. Ghazzawi works with the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, and has been outspoken online in dissenting against the regime. Journalists and human rights activists in Syria have faced increasingly perilous conditions since anti-government protests began in March 2011, including arrest, physical attack and in some cases, death.
President Bashar al-Assad has ignored international calls to cease attacks on civilians in the Syrian cities of Hama, Deir Ezzor, Bokamel, Arben, and Madameya. The escalating government crackdown has left more than 4,000 people dead, and thousands more have been arrested. The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in the organization in November 2011, and Syria has yet to follow through on an agreed to Arab League proposal to end the crackdown. Freedom of expression and media freedom continues to come under threat, as cultural figures, activists and journalists face kidnapping, arrest and murder. In September 2011, Syrian journalist Amer Matar was arrested for his role in aiding anti-regime activists. In November 2011, Syrian cameraman Ferzat Jarban was killed in al-Qasir.