Detained Syrian blogger charged with three crimes

BEIRUT: Razzan Ghazzawi, the Syrian blogger who was detained earlier this month, has been tried in front of the magistrate and charged with three crimes, Amnesty International told The Daily Star.

According to her lawyer, her charges include “establishing an organization that aims to change the social and economical entity of the state” and “weakening the national sentiment, and trying to ignite sectarian strife” and “weakening national sentiment” — all of which can lead to a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.

The 30-year-old activist, one of the few to go by her real name in Syria, is known by friends and colleagues for being outspoken. So far, more than 4,500 people have joined the Facebook page “Free Syrian Blogger& Activist Razan Ghazzawi.”

She was detained by Syrian authorities near the border with Jordan on Dec. 4 while on her way to a conference on press freedom.

Ghazzawi is among dozens of journalists and bloggers who have been detained since Syria’s uprising began nearly nine months ago.

Born in the United States, she studied literature at the University of Damascus and then pursued her studies with an MA at Balamand University in Lebanon. She launched her personal blog, Razaniyyat – which friends closed upon hearing of her arrest – in 2009.

(www.dailystar.com.lb / 12.12.2011)

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