Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
11:43 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
18 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Opposition fighters launch search for kidnapped activists
Zeitouneh had received death threats.
Zeitouneh had received death threats.
A+ A-

BEIRUT: Opposition fighters from the Douma Martyrs Brigade stormed a building in the besieged rebel area of Douma in Damascus countryside Friday, searching for kidnapped human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh. Zeitouneh along with her husband and two colleagues from the Violations and DocumentationCenter were kidnapped from the group’s headquarters in Douma late Sunday.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The VDC said an unknown armed group was responsible, but others have pointed blame at radical Islamists form the Liwa al-Islam Brigade that controls Douma.

The high-profile human rights lawyer and founding member of the Local Coordination Committees, a network of opposition activists established at the beginning of the uprising in Syria, had been in hiding for over two years but had recently settled in the Douma area of eastern Ghouta, where she was documenting life under government siege.

Zeitouneh was an outspoken government opponent who had won international recognition for her human rights work. More recently, however, she had warned against increasing human rights abuses against civil activists by Islamist rebel groups.

Friends and colleagues at the VDC Friday recounted to The Daily Star how they had pleaded with Zeitouneh to leave the area after she had received death threats from hard-line groups active in eastern Ghouta.

According to friends, Zeitouneh was determined to stay and help civilians living under siege, despite feeling threatened and increasingly pessimistic about the humanitarian situation.

Bassam al-Ahmad, a spokesman and activist with the VDC, said he had spoken to Zeitouneh just hours ahead of her abduction.

“She was sick with flu ... and she was very tired,” Ahmad said, “She was worried about people and siege, about the children.”

“She was saying: ‘Bassam you can not imagine the situation here. There is nothing to eat. Nothing to drink,’” he recalled.

He said while she never mentioned the dangers posed by the brigade controlling eastern Ghouta, “You knew she was feeling threatened.”

Ahmad confirmed brigades in the area were assisting with the search for Zeitouneh but said a raid on a building Friday had failed to yield results.

A statement issued by the Douma Martyrs Brigade Friday said forces had been deployed to raid the building where it was believed Zeitouneh and her colleagues were being held.

“But we found nobody [there] and promise to keep searching, demanding their immediate release,” the statement read.

Zeitouneh recorded a video message shortly before her kidnap, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day Monday.

“It’s very difficult to explain what being under siege means. For example, how can you explain to another that your child has not eaten egg or drunk milk for several months?” she said in the video.

“The war conditions allow you to see only the ugly painful side of the picture but there is an amazing bright side to be seen in the same picture ... It’s about the awesome people, the brave men and women who are working silently on the ground to achieve their dream of freedom and justice and proving daily that nothing, not even over 100,00 deaths, or a harsh siege ... can ever defeat the will of the people who have a dream and faith in the future.”

Tributes and well wishes poured in for her safety across social media platforms Friday, with some describing her as “Syria’s Nelson Mandela.”

Ahmad said he believed Zeitouneh would prove defiant.

“Razan is strong and she will stay mighty,” he said, “I hope she will be with us again soon.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 14, 2013, on page 10.
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Syria
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
More from
Lauren Williams
 
 
Syrian figures of all sides flock to Dubai
 
 
Jarba re-election likely to test Saudi-Qatari rift
 
 
Truces break down thanks to mistrust
 
 
Moadamieh activist released after 17 days
 
 
Fears of regime onslaught after cease-fire
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 17, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Silencing Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s hate talk
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Putin will keep rolling, until Obama says no
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS