[QODLink]
Middle East

Profile: George Sabra

Syria opposition interim chief is a leftist, secular opposition figure, who has been jailed many times for dissent.

Last Modified: 22 Apr 2013 18:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Sabra will be the Coalition's caretaker leader until May 10, when leadership elections is expected [EPA]

The Syrian National Coalition has named veteran dissident George Sabra as caretaker leader of the main opposition grouping, following the resignation of Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.

Sabra "was assigned today to carry out the functions of the head of the Coalition until elections for a new president," one of the Coalition's main constituent groups, the Syrian National Council, said in a statement on Monday.

The announcement came a day after the widely respected Khatib submitted his resignation for a second time, officially in protest over the failure of the international community to stop the conflict in Syria, which has killed at least 70,000 people.

Sabra, who until now led the Syrian National Council, will be the Coalition's caretaker leader until at least May 10, when the Coalition is scheduled to meet for leadership elections.

Sabra is a respected veteran dissident, who was jailed for eight years under the rule of President Bashar al-Assad's father and predecessor Hafez, and detained twice -- for a month and then two months -- after the uprising erupted against Bashar in March 2011.

Sabra was freed in September 2011, and immediately went into hiding before secretly leaving Syria in early 2012.

In November 2012, shortly before the Coalition was formed, he was named president of the Syrian National Council -- a key member of the Syrian opposition.

A Christian and long-time communist, his prominence within the opposition is seen as a strong message to the international community of pluralism on the rebel side.

He was born in Qatana near Damascus in 1947 and studied geography, going on to teach in the United States.

267

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.