460 Islamists Released from Syrian Prisons Following Amnesty
By Nabil Al Mulhem
Albawaba.com - Damascus
Following the general amnesty granted by Syrian President Bashar Assad Thursday, authorities released late in the day 380 prisoners who belong to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, and 80 detained members of the Islamist Tahrir (Liberation) Party, according to sources.
The sources told Albawaba.com that among the freed prisoners were 30 from the pro-Iraq Baath Party, and 22 activists from the Communist Action Party, in addition to 71 prisoners belonging to different opposition groups.
Poet Faraj Bereqdar, Sameer el Hassan, Abdullah Fadel, Ismail Qassir, Amin Kalloul and Eyad Kalloul were the most prominent communists freed under the pardon.
Another prisoner from the Baath Democratic Party was released.
The party broke away from the ruling Baath under the so-called 23 February Movement led by Salah Jdeed in 1970.
The movement’s present leader is Ibrahim Makhos, who is based in Algiers.
The sources also revealed that two leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were released weeks before the amnesty was issued.
The two leaders were identified as Haytham Qumbaz and Faisal Mbayyed, both pharmacists who were sentenced to death.
Two human rights activists, Afif Mizher and Mohammad Habib, were also to be freed, said the sources.
It is not clear yet whether other prisoners, whose freedom demanded by human rights groups, are on the list of the freed. These include Nizar Nayyouf, and Adel Ismail whose case has been followed up by Reporters Sans Frontières.
Meanwhile, a statement by the Amnesty International welcomed the presidential amnesty and called for the release of the remaining prisoners of opinion and conscience in Syrian jails.
They also called for pardoning all exiled Syrians, abolishing emergency laws and restricting authorities given to security services.
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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