The prominent blogger and activist Razan Ghazzawi was arrested at the weekend.
The prominent American-Syrian blogger who was arrested on the Jordanian-Syrian border earlier this month has been charged with three crimes, Amnesty International told Lebanon' s Daily Star.
Razan Ghazzawi, an outspoken critic of the Assad regime, was detained by Syrian authorities on her way to a conference on media freedom in Amman.
According to her lawyer, her charges include "establishing an organization that aims to change the social and economic entity of the state" and "weakening the national sentiment, and trying to ignite sectarian strife" -- all of which can lead to a penalty of three to 15 years in prison.
Ghazzawi, who posts under her real name, had recently been campaigning for the release of another blogger, Hussein Ghrer, who was freed after more than 30 days in prison.
Friends and supporters, who are now managing her Twitter account, have launched an online campaign calling for people to contact politicians and American embassies around the world.
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#FreeRazan has gone viral on Twitter over the past few weeks, calling for an immediate release of the activist.
"After what happened to Razan now I know that my tweets could cost me up to 15 years in Syrian jail cell," tweeted Soori Madsoos, a human rights activist in Syria.
Al Jazeera journalist Dima Khatib was similarly worried:"I am very sad to read the news about @RedRazan being charged with "crimes".. Razan is not a criminal. Razan is a freedom fighter #FreeRazan"
Before her arrest, Ghazzawi tweeted: "If anything happens to me, remember that the regime does not fear the prisoners but those who do not forget them."
Fellow activists and bloggers were quick to rally support for Ghazzawi. "Almost every Tweet on my timeline now contains #FreeRazan. You hear us Syrian police? #FREERAZAN," wrote fellow blogger Syrian Sasa.
American-Egyptian blogger Mona El-Tahawy, who was arrested a fortnight ago and allegedly sexually assaulted by Egyptian police, shouted her support on the popular social network: "A very loud #FreeRazan: Razan Ghazawi, activist and courageous #Syrian revolutionary. Arrested today."
American blogger Jillian C. York, director of the International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, angrily wrote on her blog: "I am really fu*king tired of seeing my good friends, one by one, arrested by hideous regimes... the sh*tstorm that I witnessed tonight, the hatred I saw toward Razan simply for exercising her right to free expression, a universal right, instils new anger in me."
The Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, of which Ghazzawi was a representative, firmly condemned the arrest.
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