Rights group urges Syria to free last of 12 reform seekers

DAMASCUS- A Syrian human rights group on Sunday urged the authorities to free from jail an opposition writer who is still in jail nearly two months after completing his sentence.
"We regret the decision by the authorities to keep in jail author and opposition figure Ali Abdullah, who completed his term and who was due to be freed on June 17," the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement.

Rights group urges Syria to free last of 12 reform seekers
Abdullah was among 12 opposition figures who signed what was known as the Damascus Declaration, which called for democratic reforms in Syria.
All of them were sentenced in October 2008 to two-and-a-half years in prison on charges of damaging the image of the state.
The Syrian authorities have released 11 of them, including prominent former MP Riad Seif and opposition figure Talal Abu Dan who were both set free earlier this week.
But Abdullah was to remain in jail on other charges, SOHR and other Syrian human rights groups have said.
He must appear before a military court "because of statements he made from jail concerning Lebanese-Syrian relations and electoral fraud committed by the Iranian government," SOHR said on Sunday.
Abdullah also faces charges of "propagating false or exaggerated information that could undermine the moral of the state," and of "undermining Syria's relations with another country," the rights group said.
SOHR added in its statement that it "congratulates the 11 members of the Damascus Declaration for being liberated and urged the authorities to set free Ali Abdullah immediately."

Monday, August 2nd 2010

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