Prominent Palestinian activist and writer Salameh Kaileh was arrested overnight at his home in Damascus by Syrian authorities, human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni said on Tuesday.
“The security services entered Kaileh’s home in the suburb of Barzeh at 2:00 am (2300 GMT Monday) and arrested him without explanation,” said Bunni.
He said Kaileh’s detention was clearly intended to “muzzle freedom of expression.”
The 57-year-old author, born in Birzeit in the West Bank, is a well-known leftist who has authored a number of books on subjects ranging from Marxism to Arab nationalism.
He was imprisoned by the Syrian government in the 1990s for eight years.
Bunni, who heads the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research, called for Kaileh’s immediate release.
He accused the regime of also targeting doctors known to be providing aid to those wounded in the government crackdown against a 13-month revolt that has left more than 9,000 people dead according to the United Nations.
“The Syrian authorities are not content to violate human rights on all levels, or to pursue and arrest those who denounce their violations, they also are working to stop all who treat the victims of those violations,” the lawyer said.