Agreement Underway to End Protest in Hama Prison: Rights Groups

Activists say regime officials have agreed to "most" demands to release political prisoners who have been detained without charge

There have been communications for a preliminary agreement to end the protest of about 800 inmates, most of them political prisoners, in the Hama Central Prison, which would lead to an amnesty and the release of detainees held without charge, according to rights groups and activists in touch with the prisoners on Monday.

They said that the deal, which was being brokered at a late hour on Sunday, would end the protest, which started last week in the Hama prison in central Syria when political prisoners protested the decision to transfer five inmates to the Saidnaya prison to implement the death sentence, which had been issued by the military court.

A rights activist in touch with the prisoners who asked not to be named said, “The regime has agreed to most of our demands to release the political prisoners who are detained without charges.”

The prisoners have seized control of the prison, which lies about 210 kilometers from Damascus, and have taken a number of guards hostage.

This has led to the imposition of a siege during which regime forces attempted to storm the civilian prison last Friday firing tear gas canisters and rubber bullets.

The prominent Syrian rights activist Mazen Darwish, a former prisoner at the prison who is in touch with the prisoners, said that there had been communications for a verbal agreement, but he did not give details.

Another rights activist in touch with the prisoners confirmed there had been communications for an agreement after tribal figures had intervened with the regime, which gave guarantees to the inmates detained without charges that they would be released if they ended the protest.

This agreement comes after the situation deteriorated and the prisoners directed appeals to the international Red Cross in the wake of prison officials cutting off the water and electricity, and amid a shortage of food and the presence of critical medical cases among the inmates.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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