Syria Human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh abducted
On 9 December 2013, human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh, her husband, Wa’el Hamada, and two colleagues, Nazem Hamadi and Samira Khalil, were abducted by unknown individuals.
Razan Zeitouneh recorded this message and sent it to FIDH on 4 December 2013.
L4L, together with another 15 organisations, issued a joint public statement saying Razan Zeitouneh and her husband and colleagues must be released immediately and unconditionally, as this kidnapping seems to be connected to their legitimate activities as human rights defenders. It was further stated that: “[…] lawyers have borne a heavy price during the ongoing conflict inSyria, falling victim to unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention and torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of government security forces and, more recently, becoming targets for armed opposition groups that disapprove of their activities. All parties to the conflict should adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, which prohibits the abduction of civilians, hostage-taking and torture”.
Razan Zeitouneh is a lawyer who mostly represented political prisoners, and won several awards for her human rights work. She is, even though she had to go into hiding due to threats in 2011, one of the few internationally known human rights lawyers who have remained in Syria since the uprising in March 2011.
Razan Zeitouneh is co-founder of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC) and the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), which documents all human rights violations in Syria. Furthermore, she is co-founder of the ‘local development and small projects support office’ (LDSPS), which provices basic needs and essential services and support to medical and development centres in Syria. In a joint statement issued on 10 December 2013, the VDC and the LDSPS attributed the abduction of Razan Zaitouneh to her activities as a founding member of these organisations.
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