Amnesty International has called on Syria’s President to fully implement a “general amnesty” by immediately freeing all prisoners of conscience, including those detained because of their participation in peaceful protests.
The call came amid reports that several hundred prisoners, including about nine prisoners of conscience, have already been released. But Syrian human rights activists told Amnesty International the releases appear to be at random with many hundreds of people still detained, many of them incommunicado.
“The announced amnesty, even if it proves substantive, does not go far enough,” said Malcolm Smart.
“If President al-Assad’s announcement is to have any credibility, all the prisoners of conscience who have languished in Syria’s jails for years must be released and he must take concrete steps to stop the security forces from committing gross human rights abuses.”
President Bashar al-Assad announced on Tuesday that he was issuing a general amnesty for those imprisoned for offences committed before 31 May 2011, including members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and other “politically affiliated” prisoners.