A picture from the official Syrian news agency shows a previous prisoner release in November
A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows prisoners being released from an unidentified prison in Damascus on November 30, 2011. Syria has released 30 people who were detained for their alleged role in an anti-regime uprising, but who have "no blood on their hands," state media said on Saturday. © - - AFP/SANA/File
A picture from the official Syrian news agency shows a previous prisoner release in November
AFP
Last updated: April 21, 2012

Syria frees 30 detained over unrest, says state media

Syria has released 30 people who were detained for their alleged role in an anti-regime uprising, but who have "no blood on their hands," state media said on Saturday.

The move takes to nearly 4,000 the number of people who have been released by the authorities since November, after they had been taken into custody for the same reason, news agency SANA reported.

It comes as a small team of UN observers is in the Middle Eastern country to oversee a ceasefire that has been threatened by deadly violence each day since it took effect on April 12.

A truce and the release of political prisoners are among six points Syria's government agreed to under international envoy Kofi Annan's UN-backed peace plan to end more than 13 months of bloodshed.

The United Nations estimates more than 9,000 people have been killed in the country since the regime of President Bashar al-Assad launched a crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired protests that erupted in March 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which puts the overall death toll at more than 11,000, said that another 46 people were killed on Friday, including 29 civilians.

Government forces killed the civilians in shelling of rebel strongholds, while at least 17 soldiers were killed in explosions and clashes with rebel fighters, according to the Britain-based Observatory.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International expressed concern about the fate of a cardiologist, Dr Mahmud al-Rifai, arrested in Damascus on February 16 and "believed to have been tortured" for having treated injured protesters.

The London-based rights watchdog raised similar fears about another doctor, Mohammed al-Ammar, whom it said was a peaceful activist detained on March 19 in the southern city of Daraa, cradle of the uprising.

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