Syrian activist Haitham al-Maleh freed under amnesty

Haitham al-Maleh, Syrian political activist (March 2005) Haitham al-Maleh is reported to be in poor health

Related Stories

The prominent Syrian human rights activist and government critic, Haitham al-Maleh, has been released from jail.

His release comes after President Bashar al-Assad issued an amnesty for those convicted of minor crimes and prisoners over the age of 70.

Mr Maleh, 80, is reported to be unwell.

He was sentenced last July for three years for spreading false information and damaging national morale - charges commonly levelled against critics of the government.

On Monday, before his release, Mr Maleh and 10 other activists signed a petition calling on the Syrian authorities to end all political detentions.

"My release is only an end to the wrongful and unfair decision to imprison me," Mr Maleh told the BBC.

"I will only have my rights back when I am compensated for the years I spent in jail and when the institution that punished me is sued," he said, referring to the military court that sentenced him.

Mr Maleh, who arrived at home on Tuesday morning, was due to go on hunger strike today, joining other activists who have started the strike.

Reflecting on the wave of change sweeping the region, Mr Maleh said the Syrian government should act quickly to make reforms.

"They cannot keep their eyes closed as if nothing is happening," he added.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Middle East stories

RSS

Features

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back


  • Aimen DeanI spied

    The founder member of al-Qaeda who worked for MI6


  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?


  • Lotus 97T driven by Elio de AngelisBeen and gone

    A champion F1 designer and other notable losses


  • A poster of Boris Nemtsov at a rally in St Petersburg, Russia, 1 MarchWho killed Nemtsov?

    Theories abound over murder that shocked Moscow


Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.