Albawaba.com - Amman
Sources in the outlawed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood movement have confirmed that authorities have freed 113 political prisoners, mostly Islamists, including prominent brotherhood leader Khaled Al Shami.
Shami, 59, was imprisoned for an attempt on the life of the late president Hafez Assad.
The London-based Syrian Committee for Human Rights confirmed in a statement that Shami was freed last Wednesday, noting that the Islamist was critically ill.
A spokesman for the group said that among the freed prisoners were three other Muslim Brotherhood leaders: Sheikh Hashem Majthoub, Emad Rinco and Mahmoud Othman.
The latter three received 20-year jail terms while Shami was jailed for life for involvement in a plot by Muslim Brotherhood members within the Syrian army ranks to overthrow Assad in 1982.
Sources said that Shami was arrested in February 1982 and received a death sentence, which was later reduced to life imprisonment. A security committee recently met with him in the Syrian prison of Sidnaya where he was receiving treatment and decided to free him for health reasons, they said.
The decision came a few days after the release of nine prisoners who were members of two banned Syrian leftist parties, the Communist Action Party and the Socialist Democratic Baath Party (Salah Jdid wing).
Sources in the judiciary estimate the current number of political prisoners in Syria at 1,000, mostly from the Muslim Brotherhood, which engaged in armed struggle against the regime in the early 1980s.
The movement says it has lost 5,000 members and supporters who were imprisoned twenty years ago - Albawaba.com