Syria jails 5 for belonging to an extremist Islamic group

October 7, 2007 21:58

Syria's State Security Court on Sunday convicted five Syrians for belonging to a secret Islamist organization aimed at changing the nature of the state, sentencing them to up to nine years in prison, a local human rights group said in a statement. The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria said that the court sentenced Mohammed Said Dahman to nine years in jail, while four others received five years each. In a separate case, the court postponed until November 8 the trial of Faiq El-Mir, who was arrested in December 2006 over charges of insulting the Syrian regime and belonging to the outlawed Syrian People's Party, NOHR's statement added. Initially upon coming to power in 2000, President Bashar Assad freed hundreds of political prisoners and passed laws aimed at liberalizing the state-controlled economy.

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