Syrian blogger sentenced to three years in jail

A human rights group says a 24-year-old Syrian blogger has been convicted and sentenced to three years in prison on charges of undermining the prestige of the state and weakening national morale. In a statement sent to The Associated Press on Wednesday, The National Organization for Human Rights in Syria condemned the verdict issued the day before as "outrageous" and called for Tarek Bayassi's immediate release. The rights group says Bayassi's sentence was commuted to three years after an original sentence of six years. Bayassi was arrested last May in northwest Syria for surfing sites of Syrian opposition groups and posting comments online. The Syrian government frequently arrests activists for posting comments critical of the government online.