Mazen Darwish is a victim of his fearless efforts on behalf of freedom of opinion and of the press in Syria. On the afternoon of February 16, Syrian security forces stormed the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression in Damascus. Darwish, who founded the Center, was taken into custody, along with his 13 employees as well as a visitor who just happened to be at the Centre at that time.
The five female employees and the visitor were released shortly afterward, but eight weeks on, Darwish and his male coworkers are still under arrest. Multiple sources are lending credence to the suspicion that Darwish is being tortured and that his condition is deteriorating dramatically.
A delegation from the European Union visited Damascus on April 3, renewed the demand for Darwish’s immediate release, plus his coworkers. The delegation also expressed serious concerns regarding the human rights activist’s worsening physical condition. Thus far, the Syrian regime has not responded.