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Prominent Syrian film producer feared arrested: Activists

Independent film and documentary producer from Syria, Orwa Nyrabia, missing after trying to head to Cairo

AFP, Friday 24 Aug 2012
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BEIRUT — Prominent independent Syrian film producer Orwa Nyrabia has gone missing after trying to head to Cairo, an activist group said on Friday, voicing fears that he had been arrested by the authorities.

Nyrabia, 34, was at Damascus international airport on Thursday for a flight to Cairo when his family lost contact with him, the Local Coordination Committees said, citing his family.

The LCC, which has a large network of activists on the ground, said that according to EgyptAir, "he did not board the plane which indicates that he had been arrested by the Syrian authorities."

It was not possible to confirm the report.

Nyrabia is an independent film and documentary producer who co-founded his own production company Proaction Film, and is a director of a documentary festival in Syria known as DOX BOX, according to the company's website.

He has also acted, taking the lead role in "The Door to the Sun" which made the Cannes Official Selection in 2004, it said.

Nyrabia, who studied film production at the Sorbonne in France, has frequently served as a panellist and jury member in festivals in the Middle East and Europe.

"Orwa is one of Syria's real young, sharp minds in the film industry," fellow independent film maker Wael Omar told AFP from Cairo.

This year's documentary festival was due to take place in March but was cancelled in protest at the continuing bloodshed in Syria.

"We are outraged, disheartened and anguished at the silence of the world as it has witnessed the massacre of our people," the festival website said.

Omar, an Egyptian, said the last time he saw Nyrabia was at a documentary festival in Amsterdam in November.

"I was telling him how I couldn't believe he hadn't been arrested yet," Omar said. "He told me: 'I don't think the authorities look at me and say... that's a threat we need to take seriously.'"

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