Syria: UN declares detention of Mazen Darwish, Mohamed Hani Al Zaitani and Hussein Hammad Ghrer arbitrary.

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In its opinion, adopted at its sixty-eight session, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) declared the detention of all three human rights defenders to be arbitrary and asked for their immediate release.

Mazen Darwish is a journalist and the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (“SCM”), FIDH member organization. SCM played a crucial role in disseminating information regarding the situation in Syria. Along with fellow SCM colleagues, Mohamed Al Zaitani, a university teacher, and Hussein Ghrer, a well-known human rights blogger, he was arrested on 16 February 2012 when the SCM offices were raided by members of the Air Force Intelligence (AFI) in a clearly orchestrated move to silence their legitimate and recognised human rights activities.

FIDH has advocated diligently for their release and welcomes this UN declaration which confirms the opinion that the Syrian national authorities’ sole aim is to sanction and prevent the exercise of universally recognised human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

See attached UN declaration.

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