DAMASCUS, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a British doctor, who had died in detention in Syria, committed suicide by "hanging himself," local al-Watan newspaper reported Sunday.
The statement came to refute the British government's accusation that the Syrian authorities were responsible for the death of Abbas Khan. Britain's junior Foreign Office minister, Hugh Robertson, recently said that the Syrian authorities had "in effect murdered" him.
The 32-year-old British doctor entered Syria illegally last year through Turkey allegedly to help the victims of the Syrian conflict. He was arrested at a security checkpoint in the northern province of Aleppo in November 2012.
According to al-Watan, the Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the British government to stop practicing deception and using the incident for political purposes.
The ministry has summoned a representative of the Czech embassy in Damascus, which represents the interests of the British nationals after the closure of the British embassy in Syria, and handed him a medical report on the death of Khan.
Meanwhile, a Syrian deputy foreign minister said Khan had been set to be released during the holiday season. "The Syrian decision to pardon (Khan) was due to take place during the Christmas and the New Year's holidays as a gift from the Syrians to the British people," al-Watan quoted him as saying.
On Saturday, the International Committee of the Red Cross helped return Khan's body to the British embassy in Lebanon's Beirut.