Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Five years for 19-year old Syrian blogger Tal Mallouhi
In October, Syria's Al-Watan newspaper reported that the authorities were accusing Mallouhi, a 19-year-old high school student, of spying for the US embassy in Egypt.
The charge was denied by Washington, which on Saturday called for her 'immediate release' and condemned her 'secret trial'. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement that Washington "rejects as baseless allegations of American connections that have resulted in a spurious accusation of espionage.
Three Syrian rights groups said in late November that Mallouhi 'was interviewed on November 10 by the High Court for State Security and then returned to her women's prison in Duma, near Damascus'. The statement expressing 'extreme concern' was signed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights and the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria.
Mallouhi, granddaughter of a former minister under the former Syrian president Hafez al-Assad, had been 'held incommunicado without charge for nine months,' Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in September. She was first detained in late December 2009. (AFP)