Syria sentences teen blogger to 5 years in jail

February 14, 2011 22:47

DAMASCUS, Syria — A Syrian court on Monday sentenced a 19-year-old blogger to five years in prison on charges of spying for a foreign country.

The United States and international human rights groups have called for the release of Tal al-Mallohi who has been held since December 2009. Her blog, known for poetry and social commentary, focuses mostly on the suffering of Palestinians. It was not clear whether al-Mallohi's arrest was connected to the blog.

Syria's Higher State Security Court issued the sentence at the end of a trial behind closed doors Monday, an official close to the court told The Associated Press.

The court convicted al-Mallohi of "contacting a foreign country," the official said. "She has leaked information that should be kept secret," the official said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

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