US demands Syria release political prisoners

The United States said Wednesday that Syria's treatment of political prisoner Kamal Labwani flouts international standards of human rights and the rule of law. Labwani is among six government critics and human rights campaigners arrested since May and given long prison sentences by a Damascus court. Labwani's was the longest, 12 years; US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack condemned Syria on Wednesday for having a military court add three years to Labwani's sentence for insulting President Bashar Assad. "This decision, coupled with the Syrian High Court's verdict to uphold Mr. Labwani's earlier 12-year sentence for calling for political reform, demonstrates the Syrian regime's contempt for human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law," McCormack said. His statement also demanded the immediate release of Labwani and all other political prisoners.