Syrian Prison to Turn into Museum

Published November 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

By Nabil Al Mulhem - Damascus 


Syrian authorities have closed down Mazzeh military prison and intend to turn it into a history and archaeology museum, sources said Monday. 

The step was taken after President Bashar Assad granted amnesty to 600 political prisoners from different opposition groups, mainly the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tahrir (Liberation) Islamic Party. 

The sources added that the inmates who remained at Mazzeh, including journalist and human rights activist Nizar Nayouf, were transferred to Sednaya prison.  

The prison is one of the oldest in Syria, and has been linked to milestone events in Syria’s political life. 

Late President Hafez Assad was once an inmate there in the early sixties during the time when the Syrian-Egyptian unity broke down. Assad, then holding a rank of a major in the army, was awaiting execution before he was freed when a coup led by Baathists succeeded in overthrowing the regime.  

During the Unity State in the late fifties, communist leader Farajallah Hilou was arrested and killed in the prison when he was thrown into a pool of acid. 

Other prominent Syrian politicians who were detained in Mazzeh included late President Noureddine Atassi, and Baathist leaders Salah Jdeed and Haditha Murad. 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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