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Syrian flag Reuters

A Syrian writer and political researcher, known for his virulent anti-Semitic writings, has been killed by state security services, his family and opposition groups said on Sunday.

Mohammed Nimr al-Madani, 51, was killed 10 days ago under torture but his body is still with the intelligence security, a relative told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He was arrested twice by state security since the revolt against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March 2011.

The Local Coordination Committees and other activist groups said Nimr had been working as a "secret correspondent" for foreign news channels.

Nimr's own Facebook page describes him as a "specialist" on religions and the Holocaust, which he fiercely denied throughout his career.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated a television debate on Holocaust denial that aired August 8, 2010 on Al-Alam television in which al-Madani claims that he has “read everything that has been written about the Holocaust, both by those who deny is and by those who claim it occurred.”

“First, those who claim that the Holocaust took place do not have any proof,” he says, adding that their claims are based “on nothing but a big lie.”

“To be honest, in the West they do not dare speak freely…” he continues, at which point the interviewer chimes in saying, ”or to conduct objective research.”

“Right,” al-Madani says. “They don’t dare enjoy the same freedom as us.”