It is now more than four years since the start of the conflict in Syria. In that time, countless activists, writers, and human rights defenders have been detained, disappeared and killed.
To show solidarity with our Syrian colleagues and the Syrian people, English PEN is organising a peaceful gathering on London’s Millennium Bridge on Monday 23 March from 7-8pm. Please join us.
The vigil will highlight the case of Mazen Darwish, the founding president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expresssion (SCM). Mazen was arrested more than three years ago, in February 2012, along with bloggers and fellow SCM members Hani Al-Zitani and Hussein Gharir, when their offices were raided by the Syrian security services. They were held without trial until March 2014 when the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus presented charges of ‘publicising terrorist acts’. More than a year later, they are finally due to appear before the court, next Wednesday 25 March.
It is now three years since my husband, Mazen, and our dear friends and colleagues Hani and Hussein were taken from us and locked away in the Syrian regime’s prisons. More than the personal, it is for our homeland, Syria, that this is the biggest loss – what Mazen and others who suffer the same fate were trying to do was to make real change in Syria through nonviolent means, recognizing the dignity of all. By locking away these people, the regime has ensured that the only space available in Syria is for brutality, violence and inhumanity on a large scale. Not only do I need Mazen free, Syria and the Syrian people need all our heroes in prison freed immediately, for the sake of our future – Yara Badr
Mazen Darwish was awarded the PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage Award 2014.
Please join us on Monday to pay tribute to Mazen, Hani, Hussein and the many others detained in Syria in violation of their right to freedom of expression, and to call for their release.
If you are unable to attend the vigil in person, you can still show your support on social media using the hashtag #syriavigil
Candlelit Vigil for Syria’s Silenced Voices
Millennium Bridge, London
Monday 23 March
7 – 8pm