Jailed Syrian female psychoanalyst freed: friends

17th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Syrian authorities have released the country's first practising female psychoanalyst Rafah Nashed, who was arrested on her way to Paris in September, friends based in France said Wednesday.

"Rafah Nashed was freed and has had telephone contact with her family who live in France," one friend told AFP.

Nashed's daughter and son-in-law live in France.

Syria's embattled regime on Tuesday freed 1,180 people allegedly involved in the country's uprising and who it said had not spilled any blood.

The source in France said Nashed was one of them.

Nashed founded the Damascus School of Psychoanalysis and had hosted meetings where Syrians could talk about their fears in the face of a deadly security crackdown on months of protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

France has accused the Syrian regime of committing crimes against humanity and slammed the UN Security Council for failing to take a stronger stand on the unrest.

Syrian authorities detained Nashed, who suffers from cancer, heart trouble and high blood pressure, as she was preparing to board a flight to Paris from Damascus on September 10, her husband has said.

French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy last month called for her speedy release.

In a letter to Nashed's husband, Faisal Mohammed Abdullah, Bruni-Sarkozy expressed concern for the 66-year-old's health and the fact that her family was only allowed to pay her two half-hour visits per week.

The first lady stressed that Nashed appeared exhausted at the last meeting with her family, adding: "Everyone who knows her is concerned about her state of health."

In the letter, published on a French website, she described Nashed as an "independent and accomplished woman, known the world over, whose life and work honour Syria, Syrian and Arab women and indeed all women".

Bruni-Sarkozy added: "I dare to hope that those who are in a position to do so, render Rafah Nashed to her family without waiting further."

President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife had said she was "appalled" by the arrest.

"It seems to me inconceivable that this clinician, who dedicates herself to therapeutics and study, can be a threat to public order, to state security," she said, expressing admiration for Nashed's courage.

Nashed, a French-speaking Syrian psychoanalyst, obtained her degree in clinical psychology from the University of Paris-Diderot, and was the first female psychoanalyst to practise in Syria.

© 2011 AFP

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