For thousands still in Assad jails, amnesty a 'fraud'

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows some of the 274 inmates being readied for release from the Damascus Central Prison, on June 11, 2014Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decreed an amnesty last month but for tens of thousands of prisoners, among them high-profile dissidents, the promise of freedom is a fraud. Yara Bader, 29, has been desperately waiting for word on her husband Mazen Darwish, a journalist and activist detained since February 2012. Her hopes that Assad’s amnesty might lead to Darwish’s release are fading, as she continues to wage an uphill struggle against despair. “The amnesty gave me real hope they would be freed within hours, but they are still in jail a month on, and it is impossible to know what will happen next.”

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