Canadians call for Syrian human rights lawyer's freedom
Human Rights Watch is one of those supporting calls by her family in Canada for her immediate release and the release of those taken alongside her.
Razan Zaitouneh, her husband Wa'el Hamada, and two colleagues Samira Khalil, Nazem Hamadi were abducted by an armed group on 9 December 2013.
|Razan is a hero back home in Syria. She has dedicated all of her time to helping political prisoners
- Rana Zaitouneh, Razan's sister
They were taken from the offices of the Violations Documentation Centre in Douma near Damascus, which monitors and reports on human rights abuses in the country.
Nothing has been heard from them since.
|Read more: Relatives appeal to Syrian rebels over kidnapped activists
At the time, Zaitouneh was head of the VDC. She has also been awarded the 2011 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and the 2011 Reach All Women in War's (RAW in WAR) Anna Politkovskaya Award, among others, for her human rights work.
"Razan is a hero back home in Syria. She has dedicated all of her time to helping political prisoners. Razan met with them, took their cases to court, and was in hiding most of the time because of her work," said her sister Rana Zaitouneh, a Canadian citizen, in a letter to the Canadian government.
The human rights organisations believe the four were abducted "as a direct result of their peaceful human rights work".
"Their ongoing detention forms part of a wider pattern of threats and harassment against human rights defenders by both government forces and non-state actors," said HRW.
The nine signatories to the letter were:
Amnesty International Canada,
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE),
FIDH under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights,
Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR),
Human Rights Watch (HRW),
Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LWRC),
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) under the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.