Syrian producer and festival organizer Orwa Nyrabia (pictured) has been released by the Syrian government, 21 days after disappearing while trying to leave the country.
According to a statement issued jointly by filmmakers Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright, Rasha Salti and Julia Meltzer – who had been campaigning for Nyrabia’s release – the producer was taken by Syrian’s Military Security and turned over to a civilian court, which yesterday (September 12) reviewed Nyrabia’s case and freed him.
“Family members say that he is strong and in good spirits,” the statement added. “On this day, we celebrate Orwa’s freedom and fervently hope that thousands of other Syrians who have been similarly detained will also be given their freedom.”
The news comes after Nyrabia, the director of Syria’s Dox Box Film Festival, disappeared on August 23 after attempting to travel from Damascus International Airport, prompting concern from family members.
After realscreen reported the incident the next day, concern grew within the industry. Among the many organizations uniting to call for his release were with the International Documentary Association, the Toronto International Film Festival, IDFA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Sundance and Tribeca Film Institutes.