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Syria: Bloggers and Activists Rally to #FreeHussein

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

Syria's bloggers rallied again to campaign for yet another of their own in Syria's detention centers. After the #FreeBassel campaign about blogger and open source developer Bassel Safadi, bloggers and activists launched the #FreeHussein campaign to highlight the plight of blogger Hussein Ghrer [AR].

Ghrer, one of Syria's most prominent bloggers, has been incarcerated since February 16, 2012, when he was arrested along with other bloggers and colleagues in a raid on the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM). This is Hussein's second arrest in the past year. After four months in detention without being referred to court (far more than the legal limit of 60 days according to applicable Syrian laws), the campaign comes to draw attention to his announcement of an indefinite hunger strike and to demand his unconditional release.

A banner for the #FreeHussein campaign

Bloggers launched the campaign late last night by releasing a statement in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. It says:

We, Syrian bloggers, demand the immediate and unconditional release of our colleague in detention, blogger and friend Hussein Ghrer especially since more than four months had passed without pressing charges against. His four-month long detention far exceeds the maximum legal limits for incarceration without court referral which is set to 60-days according to Syrian law.

The statement also makes note of Ghrer‘s serious heart condition:

To our great concern, Ghrer suffers from hypertensive vascular disease and mitral valve prolapse. We fear a deterioration in his health condition in Syrian detention cells, known for their poor environmental, psychological and physical conditions. The detention centers’ environment and their lack of the necessary medical equipment may pose a direct threat to his life.

Since then, Syrian and international Twitter users have been busy spreading the campaign and tweeting about Hussein. Syrian blogger Yassin Swehat tweets [ar]:

@syriangavroche: الحرية لصديقي حسين غرير.. الحرية ل #سوريا التي أريد! #Syria #FreeHussein

@syriangavroche: Freedom to my friend Hussein Ghrer… freedom to the Syria which I want #Syria #FreeHussein

Hussein Ghrer during a conference in Cairo in 2011. (Photo: Amira Al Hussaini)

Syrian blogger Dania tweets:

@Dania_rif: يالله حسين عم نستناك، بكفي عتم #FreeHussein

@Dania_rif: Hussein, we are waiting for you. Enough with the darkness. #FreeHussein

And DamascusTribune says:

@DamascusTribune: hands of Hussein Greer were not stained with blood. they were rather stained with ink. his weapon was his pen. we need him free #Freehussein

Arab bloggers and tweeps also shared their concern for Hussein:

@jamalghosn: #freehussein because he is one of the few who gave honest answers on syria free of bias,hate,vendetta,prejudice and will continue to do so

@Budour48: كتب حسين في مدوّنته تضامنا مع الشعب اللبناني إبّان حرب تمّوز ومع الشعب الفلسطيني خلال مجزرة غزّة. الآن هو بحاجة لتضامننا. #FreeHussein

@Budour48: Hussein wrote in his blog in solidarity with the Lebanese people during the July War, and with the Palestinian people during the Gaza massacre. He needs our solidarity now. #FreeHussein

This post is part of our special coverage Syria Protests 2011.

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