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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:06, November 03, 2005
Syria releases 190 political prisoners
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Syria on Wednesday freed 190 political prisoners under a presidential amnesty as part of a " comprehensive reform", the official SANA news agency reported.

The amnesty, taken on the eve of the traditional Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr (lesser bairam) which follows the holy fasting month of Ramadan, was to "consolidate national cohesiveness, which is fundamental to the social fabric and national interests of Syria," SANA said.

No further detail was released.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has pardoned hundreds of political prisoners since assuming power in 2000.

The release came as Syria is facing mounting international pressure following an interim UN report by chief investigator Detlev Mehlis on Oct. 20, which said there was "converging evidence" of Syrian and Lebanese involvement in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a car bomb blast in Beirut on Feb. 14.

Syria denied any involvement and dismissed the report as politically motivated.

The United States, France and Britain sponsored a draft resolution on Oct. 25, but dropped the specific reference to the threat of economic sanctions in a last-minute concession to secure an unanimous vote for the resolution in the United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday.

The adopted resolution demands full Syrian cooperation with the UN probe into Hariri's killing, threatening to take "further action" if Syria does not comply.

Source: Xinhua

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