Human rights group calls for release of Syrian activist

Ali Abdullah of Damascus Declaration opposition group completed 30-month prison term in June for earlier criticism of Iran.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
December 17, 2010 17:33
Syrian Kurdish activist tapes his eyes, mouth.

Syrian human rights 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

 
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DAMASCUS, Syria — An international human rights group on Friday urged Syrian authorities to release a political activist who made comments critical of Iran.

Ali Abdullah of the Damascus Declaration opposition group completed a 30-month prison term in June for earlier criticism of the government.

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But instead of releasing him, authorities referred him to a military court for a new trial on charges of broadcasting false news that harms Syria's relations with another country.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Abdullah had made statements from his prison cell critical of Iran.

In a statement Friday, HRW said Abdullah's prosecution violates his right to engage in peaceful political comment. It called for his immediate release.

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