Egyptian engineer Mohamed Radwan freed in Syria

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CAIRO: Syrian authorities released Friday Egyptian-American engineer Mohamed Radwan, who was detained in Damascus last week in the wake of anti-government protests.

"Radwan now is at the Egyptian embassy in Syria with the ambassador and his dad," said Tarek Shalaby, Radwan’s cousin.

"All we know is that he is physically fine, and will take the first plane coming to Egypt. We do not yet know the details of his release or what efforts were exerted to free him."

Radwan’s mother received a phone call from the Syrian ambassador in Egypt on Friday afternoon confirming that he is going to be “released in a few hours,” and then he was released an hour later.

Syrian state television aired last week a video of Radwan confessing that he was communicating with a journalist from Columbia to send photos and videos from Syria, which Syrian authorities considered to be an indication that he is spying on behalf of foreign institutions.

Syrian TV said that Radwan secretly visited Israel, an allegation that was completely denied by his family.

A Facebook page named Free Mohamed Radwan created immediately after his arrest garnered more than 5,000 followers. After news of his release, the page was updated with the message: “There is no doubt that the collective solidarity and massive media exposure contributed to his release. Our thoughts go out to those less fortunate prisoners of conscious in Syria and elsewhere.”

Supporters of Radwan held a silent protest Wednesday in front of the Syrian Embassy in Cairo, demanding his release. Family and friends joined the protest, handing out flowers to passersby.

Maha El-Samadouny, Radwan’s mother, said at the protest: "My son is not a spy, the fact that he was using his camera phone to shoot footage of protests in Damascus cannot be evidence of spying.”

A protest was also held in London calling for his release.



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