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Britain summons Syrian ambassador over diaspora intimidation

The British Foreign Secretary has summoned the Syrian ambassador and warned that Britain will not allow the intimidation of Syrian dissidents in the UK.

William Hague told Parliament on Thursday,

"The Syrian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office this morning and told that any harassment or intimidation of Syrians in our country is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."

British police are also launching an investigation into allegations that Syrian diplomats photographed pro-democracy protestors in London and sent them back to Damascus. It is alleged that these photos were then passed onto the families of the demonstrators by the regime.

After the meeting, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Alistair Burt also said,

"I am deeply concerned by continued reports suggesting harassment and intimidation by Syrian diplomats in the United Kingdom. In summoning the Syrian Ambassador today the United Kingdom made very clear that any such behaviour will not be tolerated and must immediately stop.

We will take appropriate action on evidence that such action is happening and continue to encourage anyone who has experienced harassment or intimidation to report this to the Police. They continue to investigate allegations and we are working with them closely."

The strong statements by the British follow the indicment of a Syrian-born American charged with spying on anti-Assad activists in the United States.

47-year old Mohamad Soueid, has been accused of sending 20 recordings of protests in the US to Syria's spy agency between April and June 2011.

He has also been accused of attempting to "silence, intimidate and potentially harm” the protestors.

See our earlier post: 'Syrian diplomats harrass diaspora protestors' (Oct 2011)

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