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Razan Zaitouneh
Born April 29, 1977(1977-04-29) (age 45)
Occupation Human rights lawyer

Razan Zaitouneh (Zeitunah) Arabic language: رزان زيتونة‎; born 29 April 1977) is a Syrian human rights lawyer and civil society activist. Actively involved in the Syrian uprising, she went into hiding after being accused by the government of being a foreign agent[1] and her husband was arrested.[2] Zaitouneh has documented human rights in Syria for the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.[3]

She graduated from law school in 1999 and in 2001 started her work as lawyer. She has been a member of the team of lawyers for defense of political prisoners since 2001. In the same year, Razan was one of the founders of the Human Rights Association in Syria (HRAS). In 2005, Razan Zaitouneh established SHRIL (the Syrian Human Rights Information Link), through which she continues to report about human rights violations in Syria. Since 2005, Razan Zaitouneh is also an active member of the Committee to Support Families of Political Prisoners in Syria.

On 27 October 2011, she was awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of thought, jointly with four other Arabs.[4] She was previously awarded the Anna Politkovskaya Award by Reach All Women in War.[5] In 2013 Razan Zaitouneh was granted the International Women of Courage Award.[6]

In December 2013, pro-opposition websites reported that Zaitouneh was kidnapped along with her husband and two colleagues in the opposition-held town of Douma to the north of Damascus.[7][8][9] As of 4 February 2014, their whereabouts were still unknown and the identity of the kidnappers uncertain, although it was suspected that the Islamist rebel group the Army of Islam was responsible.[10]


  1. "Syrian Activist In Hiding: 'If We Didn't Believe We Will Win, We Couldn't Bear All This'". Radio Liberty. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  2. Beaumont, Peter (21 May 2011). "Syria's defiant women risk all to protest against President Bashar al-Assad". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  3. "Syrian woman activist wins human rights award". Amnesty International. 2011-10-07. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  4. "Three finalists for Sakharov Prize 2011 honouring human rights activists". European Parliament. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  5. "Razan Zaitouneh (Syria): Winner of the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award". Reach All Women in War. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  6. International Women of Courage Award
  7. اختطاف الناشطة رزان زيتونه في دوما بريف دمشق
  8. Human Rights advocate Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped near Damascus
  9. Syrian opposition activist Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped at gunpoint
  10. Pizzi, Michael. "The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 

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