France demands Syria release rights leader

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France on Friday condemned the arrest of the head of the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights and called for his immediate release.

"The arrest of Mr. Abdel Karim Rihawi... constitutes another unacceptable decision by the authorities in Damascus and goes directly against the expectations of the international community," the foreign ministry said.

"Mr. Abdel Karim Rihawi must be released immediately," it said in a statement.

Rihawi was arrested Thursday in Damascus, a Syrian rights group said, as President Bashar al-Assad's regime continued its brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

© 2011 AFP

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