MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – Four prominent human rights defenders allegedly in custody of an armed opposition group in Syria must be immediately released, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Tuesday along with 45 co-signing organizations.
According to HRW, irregular armed opposition groups in Syria are threatening and harassing journalists and human rights defenders who are working to expose these groups' abuses.
HRW also stresses in its Tuesday message that “abductions of human rights defenders by armed groups in Syria are an assault on the very freedoms the armed opposition groups claim to be fighting for.”
The rights group call came almost six months after a group of armed men kidnapped human rights defenders Razan Zeitouneh, Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil, and Nazem Hammadi on December 9, 2013, in a city outside Damascus, then controlled by a number of armed opposition groups.
Human Rights Watch has called for their immediate release, but there has been no information on the status or whereabouts of Zeitouneh and her colleagues, and no group has claimed responsibility for their abduction.