Last updated: 12 October, 2011

Prominent Syria activist Walid al-Bunni freed on bail

Prominent Syrian dissident Walid al-Bunni, arrested in August, was freed on bail on Wednesday, his lawyer said.

“The Damascus court of appeals on Wednesday freed opposition figure Walid al-Bunni in exchange for a bail of 1,150 Syrian pounds ($23). He will be tried later for inciting (anti-regime) demonstrations and sectarianism,” said Michel Shammas.

Bunni was detained on August 6 along with his two sons, who were released shortly afterwards.

In 2000, Bunni was one of the prime movers of the short-lived “Damascus Spring” amid hopes for reform that followed Bashar al-Assad’s accession to the presidency after the death of his father, Hafez.

Bunni was one of 12 signatories of the 2005 Damascus Declaration, which called for democratic change in Syria, who were sentenced to 30 months in jail in October 2008 for “damaging the state.” He was last released in June 2010.

In May, rights group Amnesty International said Bunni was one of several rights activists in Syria “forced into hiding after receiving threats from Syrian authorities.”