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Authorities Allow Some Visits to Sednaya Prison

28-July-2009
By IWPR
The Syrian authorities have opened the door to visits to detainees of Sednaya jail a year after a violent mutiny led to an unknown number of prisoners being killed, said a July 22 statement published by the London-based Syrian Human Rights Committee.



According to local and international human rights groups, Syrian officials have imposed a total information blackout on the prison riots, which took place on July 5 last year and might have cost the lives of tens of prisoners.



Most of the detainees of the infamous jail located near Damascus are Islamists sentenced on terrorism charges in addition to a number of what their supporters call prisoners of conscience.



The statement did not elaborate on the number or nature of visits but according to other local civil rights groups, the authorities have recently started allowing around 70 families to visit the prison daily.



In its statement, the organisation called on the authorities to reveal the fate of the prisoners who are still forbidden from receiving any visits from lawyers and family members, like civil rights activist Nizar Rastanawi.



Rastanawi remains in custody although he completed his four-year sentence some months ago.



The organisation said that the truth should be revealed about the Sednaya incidents and families of the detainees have the right to know what happened to their relatives.

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