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Free Mohamed Radwan: Demo in front of the Syrian Embassy in Cairo

March 30, 2011

I considered darting to Syria this week to cover the uprising in Dar’aa and the rest of the country, and I happened to meet a young man from Dar’aa itself who told me that journalists weren’t allowed in. A France 24 crew, he tells me, was intercepted on the way to the border city, had their material confiscated, and sent home. So I decided against going.

That is to say: if it weren’t Mohamed Radwan who got arbitrarily arrested by the Syrian security forces, it could’ve been me. And this is part of the reason why I’ll be joining the protest today in front of the Syrian Embassy in Cairo: because tyrants make no distinction. And if not me, then you. And I know that, the day something happens to me, I want to know I can count on someone out there to demand my release.

More importantly though, we’re demonstrating because Mohamed has been arrested – kidnapped is more accurate – simply because, present in Damascus last friday, he tweeted and took photos of the clashes at the Umayyad mosque. He abruptly went incommunicado, and we found out the next day he was detained. And was being charged for – wait for it – spying for Israel.

As a citizen journalist, Mohamed is being held in prison for his freedom of speech. He was probably subjected to torture, in order to extract false confessions.

Mohamed is an absolutely delightful chap, a regular of the #CairoTweetups when he’s not away, working in Syria. I’ve also got to hang out with Mohamed during the protests in Cairo, where he was a regular of Tarek Shalaby‘s Freedom Motel. I met his parents; wonderful and lovely people. Mohamed would, by the way, bring us sandwiches to Tahrir that his mom had made for us.

Mohamed must be released NOW. Demonstrate in front of the Syrian embassy in your capital. Email your local representatives. See the page established in his support and spread the news.

Join us in front of the Syrian embassy, today at 1 pm.
For Mohamed.
And if not for him, then for yourself.

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