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Syria/journalist arrests

Published on February 21, 2012
Press briefing by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Spokesman (excerpts)

Paris, February 17, 2012

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Syria/arrests of Mr Mazen Darwish, Ms Razan Ghazzawi and activists from the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression
France utterly condemns the arrest yesterday in Damascus of the journalist and human rights activist Mr Mazen Darwish and his colleagues while they were in the offices of his NGO, the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

France calls for the immediate release of Mr Mazen Darwish and all his colleagues.

We commend Mr Mazen Darwish’s determination and courage in support of human rights. The high quality and commitment of the work carried out by his NGO, which he founded and which he heads, were acknowledged through UN accreditation last summer. He himself received the Roland Berger Human Dignity Award in November.

This unfailing commitment has already led to his arrest by the authorities in the past.

The initial information that we’ve received suggests that this was a premeditated roundup of human rights activists. We denounce this new attack which, once again, bears witness to the Damascus regime’s systematic violations of fundamental freedoms and its international commitments on freedom of opinion and expression.

France recalls the obligations of the Syrian authorities, which, in accepting the Arab League initiative, committed themselves to allowing the independent media free access to their territory. (…)./.

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