Syrian court jails 2 for Islamic party membership

The State Security Court has convicted two Syrians on charges of belonging to an extremist Islamic party and sentenced them to prison, a human rights group said Monday. The court sentenced Mahmoud Tiba and Khoder Aloush late Sunday to seven years and five years in jail, respectively, on charges of belonging to a radical Islamic group that aimed to change Syria's political and economic structure, said Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, in a statement. He did not elaborate. Qurabi condemned the sentences, saying they were issued by a special court set up under Syria's 1963 emergency law, rather than by the normal judicial system.