Fri Dec 17, 2010
DAMASCUS, Syria – An international human rights group is urging Syrian authorities to release a political activist who made comments critical of Iran.
Ali Abdullah of the Damascus Declaration opposition group completed a 30-month prison term in June for earlier criticism of the government. But instead of releasing him, authorities referred him to a military court for a new trial on charges of broadcasting false news that harms Syria's relations with another country.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said Abdullah had made statements from his prison cell critical of Iran, a close ally of Syria.
In a statement Friday, HRW said Abdullah's prosecution violates his right to engage in peaceful political comment. It called for his immediate release.