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Blogger arrested, held at unknown location

(ANHRI/IFEX) - On 9 July 2011, ANHRI condemned the ongoing detention of Syrian blogger and Internet activist Anas Al-Marawi, founder of the first Arabic site specialising in the Android open source phone operating system.

Al-Marawi was arbitrarily arrested on 1 July, after witnessing protest events demanding the departure of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and democratic reforms. Excessive force was used by Al-Assad's security forces, leading to the deaths of dozens of demonstrators. The reason for Anas Al-Marawi's detention has not been revealed, nor have the authorities provided information regarding where he is being held. It is believed that his detention is a result of his support for the demands for democratic reform and the departure of Al-Assad.

ANHRI said, "The Syrian authorities' targeting of bloggers and freedom of expression in general is not new. Bloggers, human rights activists and journalists have been arbitrarily arrested and unfair trials have been carried out, resulting in years-long prison sentence. One of these bloggers, Tal Al-Malwhi was 'forcibly disappeared' for months before the beginning of the protests taking place in Syria now, but the difference after the protests began is that the repression and attacks by the authorities have become more intense and brutal."

ANHRI added, "The blogger Anas Al-Marawi has been arbitrarily detained for eight days without a judicial hearing. This reveals the lack of seriousness of the Syrian authorities in implementing the reforms demanded by the people. Despite the lifting of the state of emergency, the authorities have not stopped arbitrarily detaining citizens without trial or investigation."

ANHRI called on the international and Arab communities, as well as all those who advocate for freedom of expression worldwide, to "pressure the Syrian government to reveal Al-Marawi's fate and the reasons for his detention."
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