Ghazzoul, 26, a contributor and member of the Syrian Center for
Media and Freedom Expression (SCM), died in prison from injuries he sustained during
an attack on November 5 by students at Damascus University, according to SCM and a report by
the Dublin-based international human rights organization Frontline Defenders.
Ghazzoul was in the Student Union on the campus of the university
when he was targeted in an attack by students loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s
regime, according to SCM and Frontline Defenders. The journalist was known for
reporting on abuses against journalists by al-Assad’s government and for
documenting the killing and imprisonment of SCM journalists, according to Ghazzoul’s
uncle, Tawfik Halaaq, who spoke to SCM. The students beat Ghazzoul repeatedly
and then handed him over to security forces who imprisoned him.
Security forces imprisoned Ghazzoul at the Air Force Intelligence
Base, a prison in the Damascus suburb of Mezze, where he died four days later,
according to an SCM member who spoke to Ghazzoul’s cell mate in prison. The
journalist never received treatment for his injuries.
SCM has been instrumental in documenting the deaths and detentions
of journalists after the popular uprising began in March 2011. The group’s work
is picked up by international and regional news outlets such as Al-Jazeera and
Al-Arabiya and human rights and press freedom groups.
Security forces had arrested Ghazzoul and 13 other members from SCM
in a raid on their offices
in February 2012. Ghazzoul was released in May 2012 after
being charged with the “possession of banned publications,” CPJ research shows.
Ghazzoul was studying toward a graduate degree in dental medicine
at Damascus University at the time of his death.