U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
February 18, 2015
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY KERRY
The Detention of Mazen Darwish by the Assad Regime
It has been three years since the Assad regime unjustly detained leading human rights defender Mazen Darwish, founder of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression and a proponent of free speech in Syria.
In February 2012, Darwish and his colleagues were working to expose the Assad regime’s atrocities when regime security forces raided their offices and locked them away. Like tens of thousands of Syrian activists and political prisoners who have been detained and arrested for exercising their universal right to free expression, their support for human rights and non-violent calls for change were met by regime brutality.
Well-documented and horrific abuse within the Syrian detention system has shocked the conscience of the international community. We call on the Assad regime to abide by its international obligations in its treatment of Darwish and all those in its custody.
We reiterate our call for the Assad regime to release Darwish and his colleagues, including prominent blogger Hussein Ghrer and journalist Hani al-Zitani, along with all arbitrarily detained journalists and political prisoners.