On April 29, 2017, the family of Syrian human rights defender and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh marked yet another birthday without her. Instead of celebrating, they are demanding justice and working to ensure that the cases of thousands of “disappeared” people are not forgotten as the Syrian conflict grinds into its sixth year with no end in sight.
On December 9, 2013, Razan, her husband Wael Hamada and their colleagues Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi – collectively known as the “Duma Four” – were abducted during a raid by a group of armed men on the offices of the VDC in Duma, near Damascus. They have not been seen since.
Like many other human rights activists perceived by the government to be involved in pro-reform protests, Razan Zaitouneh was forced into hiding in 2011 after receiving threats from the Syrian authorities. In the last few months before her abduction, she received threats from at least one armed opposition group in the Eastern Ghouta area.