Razan Ghazzawi during a conference in Lebanon in 2008
|Alma mater||Damascus University, University of Balamand|
|Occupation||Translator; Media Officer; Blogger|
Razan Ghazzawi (Arabic: رزان غزاوي) is a Syrian-American blogger, campaigner and activist. She has been highly involved in the events during the Syrian Civil War, and has been particularly outspoken on activists’ arrests and the violations of human rights committed by the Bashar al-Assad government. She was called "iconic blogger and leading activist" by The Telegraph. Jillian York (who has been called "one of the leading scholars on Internet control and censorship") wrote that Ghazzawi was "one of [her] heroes."
Education and career
Ghazzawi received a diploma in English literature from Damascus University in 2003. She obtained a Master's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Balamand in 2011. She started her career as a Translator and News Compiler for the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She then worked in the Call Center of MTN Syria, but resigned because she discovered the company was corrupt. After this, she became the Media Officer in the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression in the Arab World.
Activism and arrests
She was arrested by Syrian authorities on 30 November 2011 while on her way to attend a conference on press freedom in Jordan. The following week, she was brought to court, charged by authorities with trying to incite sectarian strife, spreading false information and weakening national sentiment, a charge often leveled against those who challenge the Syrian government, according to rights activists."
Her arrest sparked an online outcry and an international campaign called for her immediate release. There is a facebook campaign for her release and Amnesty International has declared her a prisoner of conscience. Before her arrest, she declared in her blog, "Do you understand, that I was scared to protest, but now I am no longer scared?" She had also written: "If anything happens to me, know that the regime does not fear the prisoners but those who do not forget them."
On 19 December 2011, she was reported to have been freed, and her employer, the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, confirmed this. However she still faces the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of fifteen years imprisonment. Ghazzawi is one of the few courageous bloggers in Syria who writes under her real name, even after her arrest.
Ghazzawi was again arrested on 16 February 2012, during a raid on the offices of the Syrian Center for Freedom of Expression in Damascus, where the activist works. Ghazzawi was arrested along with thirteen of her colleagues, including the Head of the Center, Mazen Darwish. She was freed again on 18 February 2012 but she is not allowed to leave the country. Ghazzawi was ordered to report to the police on a daily basis in order to pursue her interrogation.
Razan Gazzawi was honoured with the 2012’s Human Rights Defenders at Risk award by the Dublin-based Front Line Defenders foundation on 8 June 2012. Since she could not travel to Dublin due to restrictions on her, her colleague Dlshad Othman, who fled Syria in December 2011 accepted the award on her behalf.
- York, Jillian C (5 December 2011). "Why Syria's arrested blogger, Razan Ghazzawi, is one of my heroes". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Libre, Electron (6 December 2011). "Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi arrested". France24. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- al Shaar, Omar (19 December 2011). "Syrian Authorities released Blogger Razan Ghazawi". Day Press. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Syria 'arrests iconic blogger Razan Ghazzawi and leading activists'". The Telegraph, 16 Feb 2012.
- Town, Your (April 28, 2011). "Blogger Seeks Out the World From Cambridge". The Boston Globe.
- Razan Ghazzawi LinkedIn. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
- "Razan Ghazzawi Live Blog". Al Jazeera.
- "Detained Syrian American blogger faces criminal charges". Los Angeles Times. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Hisham Almiraat (18 February 2012) "Syria: Razan Ghazzawi arrested … again". The Prince Arthur Herald.
- "Syrian blogger arrested as crackdown continues". Amnesty International. 6 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Straight from Twitter: Syrian Blogger Finally to be Set Free". Albawaba. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Syrian authorities release US-born blogger Razan Ghazzawi". The Guardian (London). Associated Press. 19 December 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Syrian activist Razan Ghazzawi is freed by authorities for a second time". Al Arabiya, 20 February 2012.
- "Syrian woman blogger gets human rights award". Gulf News. AFP. June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
- "Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi wins human rights award". Herald Sun. AFP. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- Fitzgerald, Mary (9 June 2012). "Blogger and symbol of Syria uprising wins Front Line human rights award". Irish Times. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
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