Schoolgirl Blogger Gets 5 Years In Syria

A Syrian court has sentenced a teenage blogger to five years in prison on charges of spying for a foreign country.

Tal al-Mallouhi was 17 when she was arrested in 2009 and has been held by authorities for the past two years.

Human rights groups said her long jail term was another sign of an intensifying crackdown on opposition in Syria, in the wake of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.

Al-Mallouhi had written articles on her blog saying she yearned to play a role in shaping the future of Syria, which has been under the control of the Baath Party for the last 50 years.

She had also asked Barack Obama, the US president, to do more to support the Palestinian cause.

Lawyers taking part in the closed session said the judge did not give evidence or details as to why she was charged. There are no prosecutors present in the special court.

On Saturday, Washington condemned Syria for the secret trial and appealed for al-Mallouhi’s immediate release.

Last year, Human Rights Watch quoted al-Mallouhi’s parents as saying she did not belong to any political group.

Some Syrian activists have expressed concern that security services may have detained her over a poem she wrote criticizing certain restrictions on freedom of expression in Syria.

Tal al-Mallouhi’s Facebook page can be found here.

Complete article via Al Jazeera

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