Report: Prominent Syrian oppostion leader allowed to travel abroad after 28 -year ban
Syria's Community Party leader Riyad Turk has been given a passport by the authorities after a 28-year ban of which he spent 20 years in prison, An Nahar daily reported on Monday.
The Beirut-based newspaper quoted the head of Syria's Association of Human Rights, attorney Haitham Al Maleh, as saying in an interview that Turk had lately been issued a passport and has recieved a French Visa to travel to Paris soon.
Turk, in his seventies, was banned from traveling out of Syria in 1975. He was sent to jail in 1981 on a charge that the Communist Party collaborated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood Movement in anti-government activities.
He was freed by Syria's late president Hafez Assad in 1998 after a 17-year imprisonment, most of which he spent in solitary confinement. Turk was detained again in 2001 on charges of abusing Hafez Assad's regime and was released last year by the current Syrian President, Bashar Assad.
In one of his first open appearance in Damascus since he was released in 1998, Turk said that "the circle of fear has been narrowed backward in the year 2000." Turk considered that "it is impossible to achieve reforms by the change by relying on the current authority forces or what is called the presidential reform or achieving a revolution from the upper class." He added that "all forces which declare inclination to reforms in the authority are disabled because of its weakness."
Turk called for "openness to the forces which have interests to making the change." (Albawaba.com)
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