As we've noted before, human rights activist Wissam Tarif has turned his Twitter feed into a steady stream of updates about the Syrian regime's crackdown on pro-democracy protesters. So it was surprising that on Monday, when Syrian security forces appeared to escalate that very crackdown, the feed went silent. Tariff resurfaced on Twitter this morning, explaining that he was having problems with his Twitter account, email, and website, and facing a "defamation (hate) campaign" in Syrian state media. He later added that Syrian newspapers were calling him a "CIA agent."
Tarif tells Al Jazeera today that his website (we presume he's referring to the site for his human rights organization, Insan) was hacked into and filled with over 2,000 spam messages, and that hundreds of threatening messages were left on his Facebook and Twitter accounts as well, which he says were also hacked. "The messages said that I am history, that they will kill me and they want to drink my blood," he said. "They also seem to have a big problem with my mother and other members of my family." We're not seeing the damage now, though Insan's comments section currently shows a coding error.
When we last spoke with Tarif by e-mail, he had left Syria for what he said was a brief visit to Geneva to protest Syria's candidacy to the U.N. Human Rights Council. He said he planned to return to Syria this week.