One of Syria's most vocal human rights activists was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday, in a clear warning that the government will not tolerate dissent. Anwar al-Bunni defiantly told the court he would not be silenced.
The verdict showed President Bashar Assad's disregard for US calls for the release of al-Bunni and other dissidents, held for the past year after the largest crackdown on regime critics in years.
"This verdict is a political verdict," Anwar al-Bunni told the court after a judge read the verdict, according to his brother, Akram al-Bunni. "This is a response to what I've done regarding monitoring violations of human rights."