Spain summons Syria envoy over alleged abuses

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Spain summoned Syria's ambassador to Madrid on Friday, complaining of allegations that members of his embassy abused Syrian opposition sympathisers on Spanish soil, the government here said.

The foreign ministry summoned ambassador Hussamedin Ala'a "after repeated complaints by Syrian and Spanish-Syrian citizens, opponents of the current regime, of acts allegedly committed by members of the embassy in clear abuse of their status," it said in a statement.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International on October 3 reported intimidation and torture of opposition sympathisers living in Europe and the United States, and of their relatives in Syria.

In Syria, the United Nations estimates that more than 3,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since mid-March in a bloody crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

The foreign ministry told Ala'a "to put an end to any activity by (embassy) staff that could be considered a violation of the human rights of demonstrators, in particular their freedom of association and expression."

The Spanish government "will not hesitate to take appropriate measures over acts committed on its territory by staff with diplomatic accreditation or official status," it added.

© 2011 AFP

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