Reporters Without Borders today condemned the detention of writer and website editor Mohammed Ghanem, who was arrested at his home (photo) in the northeastern city of Ar Raqqah on 31 March by military intelligence officers.
Ghanem, who edits the www.surion.org website, refused to leave with the military intelligence officers until the local military intelligence chief came and took him away after one hour. Soldiers continued to surround the home for several hours. Reporters Without Borders called for his immediate release and deplored the growing crackdown on journalists and human rights activists since January.
Ghanem’s family said they thought his latest arrest was prompted by what he has been publishing on www.surion.org, which he calls the “website of the Syrians” and describes as a “national, democratic, independent and free site.” Born in 1955 in Rikka, a teacher by training and the author of several novels, Ghanem is known for defending Syria’s Kurdish minorities. He has also written articles for the syriamirror.net site.
He was previously arrested on 12 March 2004 and held for 15 days for writing an article about the violent clashes that took place that month between Kurds, Arab tribes and Syrian security forces in the north-eastern city of Qamishli.
Meanwhile, there is still no world of journalist Ali Abdallah and his son, Mohammad, who were arrested by the Syrian authorities two week ago, on 23 March.
Also detained in Syria is journalism student Massoud Hamid, who has been in prison 24 July 2004 for posting photos of a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Damascus on a website based abroad. The winner of the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France prize last year in the cyber-dissident category, he is serving a three-year sentence.
Syria is on the list of 15 Internet enemies that Reporters Without Borders drew up in November 2005.