Syria: NPWJ and NRPTT firmly condemn the abduction of Razan Zeitouneh along with three other prominent human rights activists

11 Dec, 2013 | Press Releases

Brussels – Gaziantep, 11 December 2013

On 9 December 2013 at night, an unknown armed group kidnapped Ms. Razan Zeitouneh, prominent Syrian human rights lawyer and leader of the civic opposition throughout the two-and-a-half-year-old Syrian uprising, in a raid on the office of the Violations Documentation Center, based in a suburb of Damascus. Abducted with her were her husband, Mr Wael Hamadeh, activist and former political prisoner Ms. Samira Khalil, and the lawyer and poet Mr Nazem Hamadi, who was running relief activities in the Damascus suburbs. The abduction occurred in Douma, a town northeast of Damascus that’s under the control of several competing rebel groups. So far no group claimed responsibility.
Besides being an icon of the Syrian revolution, Razan cofounded the Local Coordination Committees in Syria (LCC) and the Violation Documentation Center (VDC), which documents all human rights violations committed in the country. VDC and No Peace Without Justice are partners in a joint endeavour to support the efforts of Syrian civil society groups, human rights and democracy activists in documenting on crimes and abuses committed  in Syria, including with a view to lay the foundation for future criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Statement by Niccoló Figa-Talamanca, Secretary-General of No Peace Without Justice:

“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty (NRPTT) strongly condemn the abduction of our friend and partner Ms. Razan Zaitouneh along with three other Syrian prominent human rights activists and call for their safe, immediate and unconditional release. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family at this very difficult time.

“Ms. Zeitouneh and her colleagues are iconic examples of those who have risked the most on a daily basis to document the Syrian uprising and the government crackdown against it as well as to help Syrians in the liberated areas to rule and provide for themselves, despite the tremendous hurdles they must jump to do so.

“Their abductions are a stark illustration of the increasing attempts by the most violent factions of the Syrian insurgency to undermine any form of civil action in the liberated areas and to silence advocates of freedom and human rights that were the original demands of those protesting against the Assad government in early 2011.

“Regardless of the name in which these vicious attacks against grassroots activists and others are being carried out, they must stop and all armed groups operating in these areas should ensure the safety and protection of its inhabitants.

“We further urge the international community,  and in particular the European Union and its member States, to take urgent action to ensure the release of Ms. Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues and to seek assurances that their safety and well-being will be guaranteed”

For further information, contact: Hadi Al-Khatib on or Nicola Giovannini on or +32 2 548 39 15.
NPWJ’s Syria Project on Justice and Accountability
NPWJ project on Syria aims at reducing the expectation and the rewards of impunity for crimes under international law by working with Syrian judges, lawyers and civil society activists to build a culture of accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity.