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Syria arrests reporter of London-based newspaper

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DAMASCUS, Syria (CNN) -- Syrian officials arrested a reporter of a London-based Arabic newspaper earlier this week on charges of printing false information, Syrian news agency reported Saturday.

Sources said Ibrahim Hamidi's arrest on Monday was triggered by a report he published in Al-Hayat about Syria's preparations to receive about one million Iraqi refugees in the event of war.

The Syrian human rights association demanded his immediate release and the release of all Syrian prisoners of conscience. A statement by the association said that restricting the freedom of the press in Syria contradicts claims that the country is opening up.

According to the Syrian news agency, Hamidi will appear in court for violating Syria's media law provisions, a charge that may lead to three years of imprisonment.

Hamidi has worked for the leading Arabic newspaper since 1994.

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