A former Syrian dignitary was released from prison this week, 21 years after winning a race against Basel Assad, the late brother of president Bashar Assad, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The release of Adnan Kassar comes in the framework of an amnesty decree issued by the Syrian president after his re-election on 9 June, an which allowed the release of hundreds of detainees, according to the Observatory.
The director of the Syrian Observatory, Rami Abdelrahman, reported a former political prisoner in Sednaya prison as syaing that the former Syrian knight, Adnan Kassar, had been released, explaining that "Kassar was arrested in 1993 during a horse race".
"Kassar managed to win against the current Syrian president's brother, Basel Assad, then he was arrested and taken to Sednaya military prison. Upon the death of Basel in 1994, the captors took him from his cell and beat him brutally, though Kassar didn’t know then the reason for the assault," the former prisoner said.
Pro-opposition website Aks al-Ser confirmed the release of Kassar, but said he was accused of "possessing explosives and attempting the assassination of Basel Assad," pointing out that Kassar was imprisoned without a trial.
Abdulrahman said that "Kassar is not a political activist, but in Syria no one has the right to be better than Assad's family".
The Observatory said on Thursday that the fate of tens of thousands expected to be included in the amnesty is still unknown.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer