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Czechs negotiate release of two Europeans from Syrian jail

The Syrian regime prisons are notorious for torture [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2018

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Two humanitarian workers including, one German, landed in Prague on Thursday following their release from "one of Syria's toughest prisons".

Two humanitarian workers, including one German, landed in Prague on Thursday following their release from a Syrian jail negotiated by Czech diplomats, a minister said.

"We have just returned from a humanitarian flight to Damascus where we took over two employees of a German humanitarian organisation who had been detained on the Syrian territory," deputy prime minister Jan Hamacek told reporters at Prague airport.

He added the release was negotiated by the Czech embassy in Damascus - the only diplomatic mission of an EU member state in the war-ravaged country.

Read more: Selling a phoney peace in Syria

"After being detained, the two workers were taken to Damascus... and kept in one of Syria's toughest prisons," Hamacek said.

But he added a medical check before the flight showed no serious health problem although "their suffering left marks".

Hamacek, who is temporarily in charge of Czech foreign affairs, said the negotiations on the release had taken several weeks but declined to give further details about the detainees.

Christoph Israng, Germany's ambassador to Prague, said the return of the two workers would "not be possible without quick and unbureaucratic help from our friends."

Last month, a list of 8,000 names of people believed to have been tortured to death in Syrian regime prisons over the past seven years was released.

The 7,953 victims named in the document include men, women and children, who were likely tortured to death in regime jails since the outbreak of anti-government protests in Syria in 2011.

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