Syria urges UN to force Israel to release Syrian

Syria has urged the United Nations to intervene to secure the release of a Syrian prisoner who has been held in Israel for 22 years on charges of resisting Israeli occupation, the official news agency SANA reported Wednesday. SANA said the request came in letters sent by the Syrian Foreign Ministry to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN officials asking them to intervene to force Israel to release Sitan al-Wali and 14 other Syrian prisoners from the Golan Heights, some of whom have been held for more than 20 years. Al-Wali, who has been held in Israel for 22 years, was convicted and sentenced to 27 years in prison on charges of "resisting the (Israeli) occupation" by attacking Israeli troops, SANA quoted Medhat Saleh, head of Golan Affairs in the Syrian Cabinet, as saying. The letters also called for UN action to force Israel to provide medical treatment for al-Wali whose "health is deteriorating," SANA reported.