Razan Zeitouneh

Syrian human rights lawyer

Razan Zaitouneh or Zeitunah (Arabic: رزان زيتونة‎) is a Syrian human rights lawyer and activist. She was born 29 April 1977. In March 2013, Zeitouneh received the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. State Department.[1][2][3] In December 2013, Zeitouneh disappeared in Syria.[4]

Razan Zaitouneh
رزان زيتونة‎
Secretary Kerry, First Lady Michelle Obama, Under Secretary Sherman, Mrs. Heinz Kerry pose with the 2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners.jpg
Razan Zeitouneh received the International Women of Courage Award from the U.S. Department of State in 2013.
Born (1977-04-29) April 29, 1977 (age 43)

Early lifeEdit

Zaitouneh was part of the Syrian uprising. She documented human rights in Syria for the Local Coordination Committees of Syria.[5] After the government accused her of being a foreign agent[6] she went into hiding and her husband was arrested.[7]

Education and careerEdit

Zaitouneh finished law school in 1999. In 2001 started her work as lawyer, and she became a member of the team of lawyers for defense of political prisoners. In the same year, she was one of the founders of the Human Rights Association in Syria (HRAS). In 2005, Zaitouneh started SHRIL (the Syrian Human Rights Information Link), to report about human rights problems in Syria. In 2005, Zaitouneh became a member of the Committee to Support Families of Political Prisoners in Syria.


On 27 October 2011, Zaitouneh received the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, together with four other Arabs.[8] In 2011, she also received the Anna Politkovskaya Award.[9] In 2013, Zaitouneh received the International Women of Courage Award.[10]

In December 2013, pro-opposition websites said that Zaitouneh was kidnapped along with her husband, Wael Hamadeh, and two colleagues, Samira Khalil and Nazem Hammadi, in the opposition-held town of Douma to the north of Damascus.[11][12][13] As of 4 February 2014, their location was still unknown. The identity of the kidnappers was not certain, although they were suspected to be from the Islamist rebel group the Army of Islam.[14]



  1. 1.0 1.1 "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners - HumanRights.gov is the official United States Government website for international human rights related information".
  3. 3.0 3.1 "2013 International Women of Courage Award Winners - International Women of Courage Celebration".
  4. "Rights Lawyer Among 4 Abducted in Syria; 2 Journalists Are Also Being Held". The New York Times. 11 December 2013.
  5. "Syrian woman activist wins human rights award". Amnesty International. 7 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
  6. "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.
  7. 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.
  8. "Three finalists for Sakharov Prize 2011 honouring human rights activists". European Parliament. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  9. "Razan Zaitouneh (Syria): Winner of the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award". Reach All Women in War. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  10. "Dissident Tibetan Writer Wins The US Government 2013 International Women of Courage Award". VOA. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  11. دي برس. "اختطاف الناشطة رزان زيتونه في دوما بريف دمشق". Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  12. "Human Rights advocate Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped near Damascus SYRIA NEWS - ZAMAN ALWSL". SYRIA NEWS - ZAMAN ALWSL.
  13. "Syrian opposition activist Razan Zaitouneh kidnapped at gunpoint". Financial Times. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  14. Pizzi, Michael. "The Syrian Opposition Is Disappearing From Facebook". The Atlantic. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  15. "Syrian Activist Honored In Anna Politkovskaya's Name On Eve Of Murder Anniversary". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
  16. "Razan Zaitouneh (Syria): Winner of the 2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award". Raw in War. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  17. "The Fund".

Other websitesEdit