Detained Student Activist Released!
Georges Moubayed, a jeweller aged 62, was abducted after leaving his house in the Jaramana district of the Syrian capital Damascus on 10 January 2012. It was not known where he was being held, and on 12 January, his family received a phone-call in which he said he had been shot in the leg. The abductors demanded a ransom of 30 million Syrian Lira (about $500,000) for his release. He was released at the end of January 2012. There is currently no other information regarding the conditions surrounding his detention or release.
Around 15 men detained in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital, during a protest held on 16 December have been released. Around 12 were set free without charge after they were reportedly made to sign pledges that they would not participate in protests in the future. The remaining three were released after being tried and sentenced to suspended prison terms of up to five months.
On 24 February, at around 00:30, Lucila Bettina Cruz Velázquez was released on bail, following a court hearing in the afternoon of 23 February, in the 6th court of the District of Oaxaca. The charges against her have not been dropped, and Amnesty International remains concerned that she may be denied a fair judicial process free of fabricated evidence or unfounded charges.
Sudanese student Taj Alsir Jaafar was released without charge on 23 February 2012 after being detained by the Sudanese National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) for almost two months. It is believed he was arrested for participating in student protests, including a peaceful sit-in at Khartoum University.