Prominent Syrian lawyers, activists named among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2022

Prominent Syrian lawyers, activists named among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2022
2 min read
24 May, 2022
Two of the most prominent Syrian activists and lawyers, Mazen Darwish and Anwar Al-Bunni, were both named in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People's list for their work in prosecuting Syrian regime officers accused of crimes against humanity.
Syrian lawyer and activist Mazen Darwish, pictured here, was named in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2022 list alongside his fellow lawyer Anwar Al-Bunni [Getty]

The Syrian lawyers and activists Mazen Darwish and Anwar Al-Bunni have both been named in this year's Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.

Darwish and Mazen, who are regarded as some of the most high-profile Syrian activists, were named in the famed magazine’s list’s ‘pioneers’ section.

The lawyers have both endured imprisonment in Syria and fled to Europe, where they have been living in exile in Germany since, where they took it upon themselves to legally support German prosecutors with pursuing senior Syrian government officers for their crimes against humanity.

Darwish is also a free speech advocate and the president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.

In 2012, he was arrested and imprisoned for three years by men believed to be part of the Syrian Air Forces’ intelligence services. The lawyer, along with three other activists, were accused of promoting "terrorist acts,” despite calls from rights activists to free them. Darwish was subsequently released in 2015, and recounted incidents of torture carried out against him.

Meanwhile, Al-Bunni is a lawyer who has represented clients such as the opposition figure Riad Al-Turk, as well as Riad Seif, who owned an independent newspaper that was closed down by the Syrian regime.

Al-Bunni was imprisoned in 2006 for five years after having signed the Beirut-Damascus Declaration calling for democratic freedom. He was then released in 2008, and was dubbed as a prisoner of conscience by the likes of Amnesty International.

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During the historic Anwar Raslan trial, which began in April 2020, the lawyers provided evidence against the Syrian military intelligence officer, interviewed witnesses, and even testified against him. The landmark trial that saw Raslan convicted of crimes against humanity for overseeing the systematic torture of detainees, and sentenced to life in January this year.

Darwish and Al-Bunni’s efforts proved vital for the case. Kenneth Roth, the executive director for Human Rights Watch who penned their tribute in the magazine said that their work “provides” hope for justice in similar cases, and paid a major of respect to the victims.