Millennium Bridge, London
Monday 23 March
7 – 8pm
It is now more than four years since the start of the crisis in Syria. In that time, countless peaceful political activists, writers and media workers, human rights defenders and medical and humanitarian workers have been detained, abducted, 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. 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-Zaitani and Hussein Ghrer, when their offices were raided by the Syrian security services. They were held without trial until February 2013 when the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus presented charges of ‘publicising terrorist acts’. More than a year later, their court case is ongoing, with the next session scheduled for, 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 and abdcuted 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