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Release of dissident Syrian writer postponed

[JURIST] The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria [JURIST report] announced Friday that the release of jailed Syrian writer and activist Michel Kilo [JURIST report; BBC report], who was set to be released on bail Thursday, has been delayed due to procedural holdups. Kilo was one of ten activists arrested after signing the so-called Beirut-Damascus Declaration of 12 May [text excerpts], a petition calling for Syria to mend relationships with Lebanon, establish a properly demarcated border, and release political prisoners. Lawyer Ammar al-Qorabi, the president of the human rights [JURIST news archive] organization, told journalists that the decision to release Kilo is enforceable, and should be carried out within the next two days.

Kilo and prominent activist lawyer Anwar Bunni [Amnesty International backgrounder] are the only two of the ten that are still in jail. Bunni, who also signed the declaration, was arrested [JURIST report] soon after publicly criticizing the government for its arrest of Kilo. The US State Department [official website] had nothing but harsh words for Syria [press briefing transcript; JURIST report], calling for the immediate end to the persecution of ‘Syrians who seek to defend their rights and to bring democratic change to their country.’ AFP has more.

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