International rights group calls for release of Syrian activist

International rights gro

October 17, 2009 15:15

An international rights group called on the Syrian government Saturday to reveal the fate of a prominent lawyer and rights activist who disappeared this week. New York-based Human Rights Watch said three Syrian rights group have told the organization that Haitham al-Maleh, 78, is believed to have been detained by one of Syria's intelligence agencies known as Political Security. Maleh was summoned by security agents for unknown reasons on Wednesday and has not been seen since, eight Syrian rights groups said in a joint statement Thursday sent to The Associated Press. Two groups told Human Rights Watch they believe the reason behind Maleh's arrest is a telephone interview he gave on October 12 to an opposition television station in which he criticized the Syrian authorities for their restrictions on freedom of expression, the international rights group said.

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