Syria frees journalist after five months of detention

Published May 26th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

Syria has freed a journalist for al Hayat newspaper after detaining him for five months over an article on a prospective influx of Iraqi refugees, the journalist's lawyer and his newspaper's office said Monday.  


Ibrahim Hamidi, a Syrian citizen and the Damascus correspondent for the Arabic newspaper, was released Sunday after paying bail of 1,000 Syrian pounds (US$20), lawyer Mustafa Amin was quoted as saying by AP.  


According to Amin, Hamidi, 34, will stand trial while on bail.  


The Syrian police arrested Hamidi late last year on a charge of publishing a false report. Earlier, Hamidi had published an article that quoted "informed sources" as saying the Syrian authorities were preparing the logistics to receive up to 1 million Iraqi refugees in the event of a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Syrian government denied the report.  


Hamidi started his job in 1990 as assistant to the correspondent of Al-Hayat. In 1993, he became correspondent of Al-Hayat, writing economic and political stories about Syrian affairs. Since 1996, Hamidi has been the Bureau Chief covering political stories while his two assistants covered economic developments in the region. (

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