BEIRUT: The wife of high profile Syrian artist Youssef Abdelke who was released from detention Thursday one month after being arrested by Syrian authorities has urged the release of all political prisoners in Syria. Hala Abdallah confirmed to The Daily Star Thursday that her husband had been freed.
“We hope all the political prisoners will be free, because nobody should be in prison for asking for liberty,” she said.
Abdelke, 62, a prominent and outspoken critic of the Syrian regime and member of the “internal opposition,” the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), was arrested at a checkpoint as he traveled in the coastal area of Tartous on July 18. He had not been heard from until Thursday.
His arrest generated outrage among the intellectual and artistic Syrian communities, with thousands petitioning for his release.
Abdelke’s wife told The Daily Star by telephone that she had received the news of her husband’s release around 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Yes, it is true,” she said.
Abdallah said she received a brief phone call from her husband.
“I spoke to him an hour ago. He said it has been very hard, but that he’s OK,” she said. “We don’t have many details, but we’re very happy.”
Human rights activists with the Violations and Documentation Center said Abdelke was released after facing court earlier Thursday.
It was not immediately clear whether he will face any further charges.
Abdelke was one of some 70 peaceful activists who signed a statement calling for President Bashar Assad to step down last month. He was one of only two not in exile or in hiding to sign. He is also under a travel ban.
There is still no news on the fate of two other missing NCB leaders, Abdel-Aziz al-Khayyer and Iyas Ayyash, who were snatched at a regime checkpoint on their way home from Damascus airport after traveling to Russia and China to discuss possible negotiations with the Syrian government in September 2012.