France urges Syria to free prisoners as dissidents tried

9th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

France called Wednesday on Syria to release all political prisoners, as two dissidents went on trial on charges of undermining the state.

"France urges Syria to respect its international engagements and to free all prisoners of conscience," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.

Valero said a representative of the French embassy in Damascus had on Monday and Tuesday this week attended the separate trials of the two dissidents, Ali al-Abdullah and Mahmud Barish.

Human Rights Watch's World Report 2011 said Syria detained political and human rights activists, restricted freedom of expression, repressed its Kurdish minority and held people incommunicado for long periods, often torturing them.

© 2011 AFP

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