Syria frees over 200 political detainees: rights group

AFP , Saturday 26 Mar 2011

A human rights lawyer said that Syrian authorities released more than 200 prisoners, mostly Islamists, from Saydnaya jail on Friday

Syria has freed more than 200 political detainees, mostly Islamists, who were being held at the country's infamous Saydnaya prison, a London-based rights group reported Saturday.

"Syrian authorities released more than 200 prisoners from Saydnaya, mainly Islamists, after the prisoners had submitted signed requests for their release," Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

At least 13 people have been killed in protests this month demanding major reforms in the country, which has been ruled by the Baath party for close to 50 years.

The government of President Bashar al-Assad announced a string of reforms on Thursday, including the release of all activists detained this month and the possibility of ending emergency rule, in place since 1963.

But protesters have vowed to continued to hit the street until all their demands are met.

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