According to Lebanese sources, 263 Lebanese are still held in Syrian jails including political prisoners belonging to the Tahrir Islamic party who were arrested in Tripoli in 1998. Some of the prisoners have also been charged with espionage. Forty Lebanese prisoners were released Thursday.
Lebanese sources faxed lists including names of the Lebanese prisoners. Some Lebanese families also distributed names of sons or relatives held in Syrian jails.
A list received by Albawaba.com included the names of Mohammad Taan Nasrallah, Adnan Zaki Abu Hamdan and Nasser Hussein Abu Hamdan.
The sources said in a statement to Albawaba.com that other moves would follow the release of the prisoners from the Syrian jails. They said that a Syrian initiative, that included the release of the prisoners, might go as far as granting a possible pardon to Samir Geagea, the jailed leader of the dissolved Lebanese forces militia, and also facilitate the return of former Lebanese army commander Michel Aoun to Lebanon. Although work on the two ‘files’ has been slow, significant progress has now been made. The sources indicated that the two issues were among others agreed upon during a visit to Damascus by the speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri who refused to divulge any details.
The same sources add that mediators in contact with the Lebanese, Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallh Sfeir, fear that any change in Sfeir’s position could negatively affect Syria’s position with respect to those issues since Damascus has repeatedly indicated its opposition to the debate of Syrian-Lebanese issue under pressure. But some members of the Lebanese parliament known to have close relations with Syria have recently said they were willing to submit a draft plan demanding a special amnesty to Geagea.
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