Eight years ago, as pro-democracy protests raged on the streets of Syria, Wafa Mustafa’s father, Ali, was dragged from an apartment in Damascus by armed men and driven away. It was the last time he was seen or heard from.
Mustafa’s search for her father has come to dominate her life. She has become a relentless campaigner to free all of those who remain detained in Syria, fighting to ensure that the families left behind are not forgotten.
Mustafa’s family is from Masyaf, a religiously and politically diverse city in north-west Syria, three hours from Damascus. Before his disappearance, Ali had already been arrested, detained and tortured by the regime for his human rights activism and political beliefs.
The revolution turned Mustafa from politics to activism. She was out on the streets protesting every day. Her mother was terrified, but when Mustafa was arrested — she spent weeks in a Syrian government prison where she was beaten and interrogated — her father continued to support her participation in the uprising.