AMMAN - Syrian intelligent agents abducted Akram al-Bunni, a prominent leftist writer and former political prisoner, as he left a wedding reception at a central Damascus hotel on Saturday, opposition activists said.

They said Bunni, who had previously spent two decades as a political prisoner, was snatched by agents from an intelligence division run by Hafez Makhlouf, a cousin of President Bashar Assad.

His brother Anwar al-Bunni, a human rights lawyer who was also a political prisoner for five years, said Akram had riled the authorities by publicly supporting a democratic alternative to the four-decade rule of the Assad family.

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