The Syrian authorities have released the horseman Adnan Qassar, who had been detained in Syrian prisons for the last 21 years.
Qassar was arrested in 1993 after he won against Bassel al-Assad, Bashar al-Assad’s brother, in a horse race in which Bassel would usually come first, and Adnan Qassar would be presented as a professional equestrian.
An explosive device was planted in Mr Qassar’s car, and he was then arrested on the charge of being in possession of an explosive device, although he was not tried with this charge and remained in prison since then.
Qassar was first detained in Sednaya Prison, and then transferred to Tadmur, and back then back to Sednaya, from which he was released yesterday.
Qassar had won in a number of international horse riding tournaments, and completed his education in the UK.
Qassar was also from among the friends of Bassel, and from among those who helped him in horse riding. However- and according to ex-detainees who were with Qassar- Bassel decided to get rid of Qassar after he committed mistakes during the 1992 Arab Competition based in Lattakia and Damascus. In the final round, Bassel committed a number of mistakes on his horse which lost the Syrian team many points, after which Qassar managed to regain the points for the Syrian team.
The fate of thousands of detainees from the era of Hafez al-Assad remain unknown, whilst hundreds are still known to be languishing inside Syrian regime prisons till now. They were all arrested by various security branches, were never presented to the courts, or directed with any charges.