Britain 'deeply dismayed' at reports of Syria lawyer assault.


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1Britain ` deeply dismayed ' at reports of Syria lawyer assault .
2British junior foreign minister Alistair Burt said Friday he was `` deeply dismayed '' by reports that a prominent Syrian lawyer had been beaten in prison , saying Damascus had failed to protect him .
3Burt relayed his concerns to the Syrian ambassador to Britain on the telephone Friday , the Foreign Office said , after leading international human rights groups raised the case of Muhannad al-Hassani , a political prisoner .
4Eight groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say Hassani , co-founder of the Syrian Human Rights Organisation , was `` physically assaulted '' on October 28 by a fellow prisoner in his jail in Damascus .
5`` I am deeply dismayed to hear reports of the severe physical assault by a fellow prisoner on Muhannad al-Hassani , a prominent Syrian lawyer and Human Rights Defender , in Adra Prison last week , '' Burt said in a statement .
6`` I am concerned that the Syrian authorities have failed to protect him .
7`` In addition any suggestion that the attack may have been ordered by the Syrian security services and that he remains at risk are disturbing . ''
8The minister urged Syria to release Hassani , as well as all the other political prisoners in the country .
9`` I call on the Syrian government to meet its international responsibilities by ending its practice of arbitrary arrests and detention , '' he said .