Syrian Opposition Journalist Leaves for Paris
Dissident Syrian journalist and human rights activist Nizar Nayyouf left Damascus Sunday for Paris, where he is due to receive medical treatment, MP Maamun Al Homsi told AFP.
Nayyouf, who was released in May after nine years in prison, boarded a Syrian Arab Airlines flight with his brother Hayyan, the MP said.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said during his visit to France in late June that the dissident was free to leave Syria if he so wished.
"He is no longer in prison, he is not forbidden to travel, he has permission to leave the country if wants to," Assad said at the time.
Nayyouf, 39, had been seeking permission to travel to France for medical treatment for illnesses that press watchdog groups attribute to his detention between 1992 and 2000 in a Syrian jail.
He said late last month that he had been freed overnight after being "arrested" and held by intelligence agents for two days.
He was released in early May, months before his ten-year sentence ended. But Nayyouf protested days later that the authorities had barred him from traveling outside the country for cancer treatment.
Nayyouf was being treated in Tishreen Hospital, where he went into frequent comas, according to a press release by the Syrian Human Rights Committee, quoting his family.
The journalist was one of the few political prisoners remaining in the Syrian jails after hundreds were released following an amnesty issued by Assad last year.
The activist was reported released in April 2000, but the committee discovered he was only moved to Mazza Prison, which was later closed down and turned into a museum.
While in jail, the journalist was awarded a UNESCO prize for press freedom.
According to the the rights committee, Nayyouf was then allegedly offered freedom by authorities on the condition that he reject the $25,000 award – Albawaba.com