Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Syrian-American pro-democracy blogger detained

On June 6th, Amina Arraf, a popular young Syrian American blogger, was reportedly kidnapped by three armed men in Damascus. Being one in over ten thousand pro-democracy men and woman who were detained and tortured by Syrian forces over the past few months, her high profile status is taken by some to signify that the regime is no longer concerned with upholding legitimacy.

Arraf blogged abundantly about her family’s experiences during the crackdown and being a gay woman in Syria (homosexuality is illegal in that country); she was a symbol for countless Syrians campaigning for basic rights. Her abduction has shocked and horrified scores of pro-democracy protesters, many of whom have embarked upon a campaign to attempt to secure Arraf’s prompt release from the custody of the notoriously brutal Syrian forces (it is as of yet unconfirmed which of the 18 branches of the security services is holding her).

Her family is likewise desperately trying to find out who abducted Arraf and where she is being kept. Her safe return is looking more and more unlikely, and calls for US and Turkish diplomats have been made to put pressure for her immediate release. The ‘Free Amina’ campaign is gaining widespread support.

One of Arraf’s last blogs read: “Today or tomorrow might be the last one for me; or tomorrow might be the beginning of a new Syria.” Let’s hope that at least her first prediction does not prove true.

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