Miami-Born Syrian Blogger, Activist Released After Arrest in Middle East

Razzan Ghazzawi has been targeted by Syrian government several times.

Half a world away from the fun and sun of South Beach, Miami-born activist Razzan Ghazzawi is fighting for the freedom to express herself and her opposition to authorities in the simmering political climate of Syria at the hands of a government who has already detained her several times.

Ghazzawi, 31, is a blogger and press freedom campaigner who has been heavily involved in protesting against the government, which arrested her as recently as last Thursday.

Ghazzawi was among six female activists who were released Saturday on the condition that they would report to authorities every morning.

"They were questioned about groups that are funding them and their contacts with foreign parties," said Rami Abdul-Rahman who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

On her website, Ghazzawi acknowledges that she was born in the United States, though she says she never lived in Amerca. After living in Saudi Arabia for a decade, she says her family moved back to its homeland, Syria, and is currently based in Damascus.

Ghazzawi was also arrested in April of 2011 while she was on her way to attend the Forum of Defenders and Media Freedom in the Arab World on behalf of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, where she worked.

According to the center, Ghazzawi worked as a media officer. She graduated from the Department of English at Damascus University.

In December, the Huffington Post reported that Ghazzawi was arrested and charged with trying to incite sectarian strife by the government.
The Syrian government has been under fire since a revolt against President Bashar Assad started in early 2011, and the United Nations estimates that over 5,000 individuals have been killed and thousands more have been arrested in government crackdowns.

On her website, Ghazzawi describes herself as “(upset) at everything. But a person who cries genuinely while watching Daddy Long Legs cartoon.” She says she enjoys photography, drawing cartoons and writing Arabic articles.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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