A group of Palestinian bloggers and activists has issued a statement in support of Syrian-American blogger Razan Ghazzawi, who was arrested on Dec. 4 by Syrian authorities and now faces up to 15 years in jail.
In the statement, the bloggers claim to stand with all the prisoners demanding freedom and justice and call on the Syrian government to free all the activists who have been put in jail in the previous months.
"Ghazzawi was adamant in her support for the Palestinian cause," reads the statement. "She was first to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian bloggers who were not granted a visa to enter Tunisia in order to participate in the Arab Bloggers conference."
In a 2008 post published during the massacre of Gaza by the Israeli forces, Ghazzawi complained about the lack of solidarity by Syrians, Lebanese and Jordanians with the Palestinians' struggle.
The statement appeared on a wide range of internet outlets and blogs.
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, on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
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.
#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.