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Syrian Pro-Democracy Activist Reported in Government Custody


Syrian human rights activists say security forces in Damascus have detained prominent pro-democracy activist Michel Kilo, a long-time critic of Syria's role in neighboring Lebanon.

Kilo's daughter is quoted by the Associated Press as saying her father was summoned by security police Sunday, and has not returned home. Syrian authorities have not confirmed an arrest.

Activists say Kilo, 66, and hundreds of other intellectuals from Syria and Lebanon signed a declaration last week urging the government of Bashar al-Assad to recognize Lebanese independence.

The declaration also said the United Nations investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri must proceed without hindrance.

The Hariri assassination triggered large anti-Syria protests last year in Lebanon, and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country after a 29-year presence.

An ongoing U.N. probe of the Hariri killing has led to criminal indictments against four pro-Syrian Lebanese generals. Damascus has denied any role in Mr. Hariri's death.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.