Syria sentences 4 for Islamic group contacts

A Syrian court has sentenced four Syrians to prison terms ranging from 45 days to five years, for convictions that include having contacts with a secret association, a Syrian human rights group said Monday. Syria's State Security Court sentenced Abdullah Eid and Basel Madrati to five years in prison Sunday for contacts with a secret association that aims to change Syria's economic and political situation, the National Organization for Human Rights said. The rights organization expressed deep concern for the "unjust" sentences handed down by the security court and called on the Syrian authorities to release all political detainees. The non-governmental rights watchdog said the secret association referred to was the Islamic Liberation Party. The group, previously unheard of in Syria, is not believed to have links with the organization of the same name that has been active in the United Kingdom, Egypt and Jordan, where it was founded in 1953.