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Syrian writer freed after serving sentence for insulting president, emergency laws

Syrian writer freed after serving sentence for insulting president, emergency laws

A Syrian writer and his son were released from prison Wednesday after completing their six-month prison terms for publicly denouncing the country's emergency laws and insulting the head of the state security court, their lawyer said.
Khalil Maatouk said Ali Abdullah, a 52-year-old rights activist, and his son Mohammed, 22, were detained in March 2006 after attending a court hearing for Ali Abdullah's brother, who had been accused of holding meetings with a banned Islamic group.
Ali and Mohammed Abdullah stood outside the State Security Court and denounced Syria's emergency laws, in place since 1963, which gives the state sweeping powers to detain people and generally restrict civil liberties.
They were summoned inside the courtroom, where they had an argument with the chief judge. The judge ordered their detention and they were subsequently sentenced to six months in prison. Verdicts handed down by the state security court cannot be appealed.
Maatouk told The Associated Press they were both released on Wednesday.
Ali Abdullah had previously been arrested in May 2005 for reading a statement by the head of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group at a private gathering. He was freed in November along with 190 other political prisoners.
Syria freed two Syrian pro-Kurdish rights activists earlier this week after they had completed their prison terms.
Since coming to power in 2000, Assad has freed some political prisoners and passed laws aimed at liberalizing the state-controlled economy. But he has also clamped down on political activists, imprisoning pro-democracy advocates and cracking down on government critics.
dam/zk-wnt


Updated : 2021-06-14 05:43 GMT+08:00