Syrian writer jailed for insulting President Assad

assad 88 (photo credit: )
assad 88
(photo credit: )
A Syrian military court has sentenced a writer to a year in prison on charges of insulting the president and creating sectarian unrest, a human rights group said Wednesday. Syria's detention of more than 10 well-known writers and human rights activists in recent months has been met with a chorus of international disapproval. The conviction also came as Damascus faces continuing criticism from opposition figures living abroad, most recently at a conference in London in which Syrian former Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam participated. Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Mohammad Ghanem was sentenced Tuesday by the court in the Raqqa province, some 550 kilometers (345 miles) northeast of Damascus. Qurabi said that the military court commuted the sentence to six months imprisonment, but did not say why. Ghanem was convicted on charges of "insulting the Syrian president, discrediting the Syrian government and fomenting sectarian unrest." The human rights activist denounced the sentence saying it came "in the context of repressing human rights activists and the other's opinion that has been followed up by the Syrian authorities since months ago."