Kurdish party official arrested in Syria

DAMASCUS - Syrian authorities have arrested a leading member of a banned Kurdish party, a Syrian rights group said in a statement on Saturday, and pleaded for his release.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 22 May 2010, 8:22 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:59 AM

Teacher and party official Mohammed Saadun, 50, was “arrested by the state security services” on Thursday in the northeastern town of Qameshli, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Saadun, a father of seven, is on the political committee of the banned Azadi Kurdish party, the statement said.

“The reasons for his arrest and his place of detention are still unknown,” the Observatory said, urging the Syrian authorities “to free Saadun and three members of the Azadi party who had been previously detained.”

It said Mustafa Bakr, Mohammed Omar and Saadun Sheikho were sentenced to three years in prison in November 2009 on charges of “undermining the dignity of the state, weakening national sentiment and fuelling racial strife.”

The group urged the government “to free all prisoners of conscience being held in Syrian jails,” and “to pass a modern law regulating the activities of political parties and civil society groups in Syria.”

The New York-based Human Rights Watch late last year accused Syria of systematic efforts to “ban and disperse” Kurdish gatherings and “the detention of leading Kurdish political activists and their ill-treatment in custody.”

Living mainly in the north near the border with Turkey and Iraq, Syria’s Kurds want recognition of their language, culture and political rights but deny they are also seeking secession.

Kurds represent around nine percent of Syria’s population of 20 million.

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