syrian troops 298.88 AP.
(photo credit: AP [file])
A Syrian court has sentenced three members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to death but commuted the verdicts to 12 years in prison, a human rights group said Tuesday.
The National Organization for Human Rights (NOHR) in Syria said the verdicts against Mohammad Thabet Hillali, 38, Fuad Ali Al-Shughry, 44, and Youssef Omar Hussein, 26, were handed down on June 4 under a Syrian law which prescribes death penalty against all members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
All three hail from the Idlib province, some 330 kilometers (200 miles) north of Damascus.
The death sentence followed by an immediate reduction to a prison term is a common treatment for Muslim Brotherhood defendants.
The NOHR said Hillali, Hussein and Al-Shugry had left for Iraq with their families in the 1980s and returned to Syria in 2005 following the deterioration of conditions there. They were arrested by security agents upon their arrival.
In 1982, the Brotherhood staged a rebellion in the northern Syrian city of Hama. Up to 10,000 people reportedly were killed in the crackdown that followed.
In recent months, President Bashar Assad's government has released several Brotherhood members along with other militants and pro-democracy dissidents, as part of his efforts to present a more democratic face to the world.
Ali Sadr el-Din Bayanouni, the group's head, has joined forces with former Syrian Vice President Abdul-Halim Khaddam, who fled the country last year, in calling for Assad's ouster.
Meanwhile, the NOHR said the Syrian authorities on Monday banned Ridhwan Ziyadeh, head of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria, from traveling to Jordan. It condemned the measure as contrary to law and constitution and a violation of the Syrian peoples' rights."
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