Release of three human rights defenders in Syria welcomed

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Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Chair of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria. UN File Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

The release of three prominent human rights activists by the Syrian government has been welcomed by UN human rights investigators.

Hussein Ghrer and Hani Al-Zaytani were released in mid-July and Mazen Darwish on 10 August after more than three years in prison.

Maria Carlino reports.

The three men were arrested at their workplace, the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, in February 2012 and later charged with "publicizing terrorist attacks" and "promoting terrorist activities".

The independent commission investigating alleged violations of human rights law in Syria said the charges against them remain as does the threat of further imprisonment.

Following their release, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, chair of the commission, said that in Syria, where a culture of impunity has taken hold, "such good news is all too rare".

Mr Pinheiro urged the Syrian government to allow the commission regular access to the thousands of people reportedly held in detention in the country, many for long periods without charge or trial.

Maria Carlino, United Nations.

Duration: 45″

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