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Authorities Say Kurdish Prisoner Died in Military Jail

The Syrian authorities informed the family of the Kurdish activist Khoshnaf Sulaiman that their son had died in Saydnaya military prison, according to a September 4 statement published by the Kurdish Organisation for Human Rights on its website.

The authorities did not return the body of the prisoner to his family, nor did they explain his death, which is dated March 31, 2003, according to the official document sent to the family by the military general prosecution office.

According to the organisation, Khoshnaf was arrested by the state security service in September 1998 on his return from Moscow, where he had studied chemistry.

Khoshnaf was married to a Russian and had one daughter, the statement said. His family was allowed to visit him in jail six months after his arrest but his fate became unknown after that, the statement added.

The organisation said it suspected that Khoshnaf was in fact killed during a July 2008 prison mutiny rather than in 2003.

The organisation called on the Syrian authorities to reveal where the Kurdish prisoner was buried and return his remains to his family.

It also demanded that officials improve conditions for all political prisoners and reveal the fate of the detainees of Saydnaya prison.

In July 2008, military police used lethal force to quell riots in the Saydnaya. Human rights groups said that dozens of inmates died in the event but Syrian authorities have made no official statements about the prisoners.

The families of many inmates are still not allowed to visit the jail.

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