Finally free, Mazen Darwish must now be acquitted

24/08/2015
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On 10 August in Syria the prominent human rights defender Mazen Darwish was released from the Syrian prison where he had been detained for over three years. This great relief comes three weeks after the release of his colleagues Hussein Ghrer and Hani al-Zaitani.

Mazen Darwish is the Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), an FIDH member organisation in Syria.

On several occasions since they were arrested, these three human rights defenders have been held in conditions amounting to “enforced disappearance” and were subjected to acts of torture. Moreover their whereabouts were kept unknown between 3 May and 30 June 2015.

The judicial harassment against them has only been aimed at penalizing their human rights activities. Since their arrest on 16 February 2012, FIDH, through its Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, has continuously called upon the Syrian authorities to release Mazen, Hussein, and Hani.

Subsequent to the initiative of the Observatory, the United Nations stated that the detention of Mazen and his colleagues was “arbitrary”. The UN and the EU moreover called for their immediate release, as requested by FIDH.

All the charges against them should be dropped immediately. The verdict hearing is scheduled for 31 August 2015.

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