Syria releases political prisoners

2010-09-28 18:06

Damascus - Syrian authorities have recently released from prison a number of political prisoners who had been held for a long time, two human rights groups announced on Tuesday.

Among those freed was Maher Ahmad Kharnabiq, who had been in jail for 27 years, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syria League for the Defence of Human Rights.

No details were given on the names or sentences of the other people, nor the reasons for anyone's incarceration.

In a statement, the groups expressed their satisfaction over the releases and hope that Syria would soon "adopt measures respecting and reinforcing human rights."

It called on Syria to free "all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and to disclose the fate of those arbitrarily detained under the emergency law in force since 1963."

Singled out was Nizar Rastanawi, who disappeared along with a number of other prisoners following a 2008 revolt at Saydnaya prison.

According to Amnesty International, more than 50 inmates disappeared following the riot, during which at least 17 prisoners and five military police died.