BEIRUT - Prominent Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zeitoune was kidnapped along with her husband and two colleagues in the Damascus town of Douma.
"Masked men stormed and vandalized the Douma office of the Violation Documentation Center in Syria and [kidnapped] Razan Zeitoune, [her husband] Wael Hmadeh, Nazem al-Hamadi and Samira al-Khalil,” sources told NOW on Tuesday.
Samira al-Khalil’s husband, famed Syrian dissident author Yassin al-Haj Saleh, wrote on Facebook that the kidnapping was an “affront to Syria and the revolution.”
The activist Syrian Coordination Committees, which Zeitoune helped found, condemned the abduction and urged the immediate release of the kidnapped activists.
“We denounce this act, [condemn] its perpetrators and hold them directly responsible for any harm they might suffer,” the LCC said in a statement released on Tuesday.
They also urged the kidnappers to “return the [activists] to their place of work immediately and unconditionally.”
Meanwhile, LCC activist Fares Mohamed told AFP that an armed opposition group was suspected of snatching the activists.
Zeitoune has been the target of threats and accusations of treason from not only the Bashar al-Assad regime, but rebel groups as well.
“Some have yet to take advantage of the lessons learned from the revolution and believe they can force [people] to adopt one opinion and speak with the same voice [as was the case under the Assad regime],” she told NOW in a September interview.
“This is impossible as one cannot go back in time. These people will fall just like the regime fell.”
She had stressed to NOW that she was not frightened by the threats made against her.
“I have not felt fear, but a great deal of bitterness at first.”
Zeitoune had been forced to go into hiding in 2011 for her media coverage of the revolution in her country.
In October 2011, the European Parliament awarded Zeitoune, along with four other activists in the Arab world, the Sakhorov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
The Syrian activist has also been awarded the Anna Politkovskaya Prize and, most recently, the 2013 International Women of Courage Award.