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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 February, 2004, 20:22 GMT
Syria frees jailed Kurdish activists
Two leaders of an unlicensed Kurdish party have been released in the Syrian capital, Damascus, after a court reduced their sentence from three years to 14 months.

The two men from the Yakiti Party - Hassan Salih and Marwan Uthman - had already served 14 months after being arrested for taking part in a demonstration to demand equal rights for the Kurdish minority in Syria, which numbers over a million.

They were charged with trying to annex parts of Syrian territory to an unspecified foreign country.

The leader of the party, Abdul Baqi Yousef, told the BBC the allegation was untrue.

But he said the Syrian government was confiscating the lands of Kurds living near the Turkish border and resettling them with Arabs because of fears that Kurds want to join Turkish Kurds in a separate state.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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