Monday, October 4, 2010

Syria 'the strange' detains teenage blogger for spying

Syria is a confusing country as it is ~ but it seems they believe this pro-Palestinian blogger's blogs led to an attack on a Syrian officer 'by foreign agents'. Usually people are accused of being Israeli spies in that region. Though it is hard to decipher what is the real accusation ~ unless, these 'foreign agents' were Muslim. She had been held for 9 months ~ whereabouts unbeknown to her parents ~ and has yet to be formally charged.

Syria has also arrested western students in the country studying Arabic. Both Egypt and Syria suspect many of these Arabic students of being radicals.

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria has accused a 19-year-old blogger who is in prison of being a spy, an official said Monday in the first comment from authorities on a case that sparked calls by a leading rights group for the young woman's release.

Tal al-Mallohi was taken into custody in December. Her blog, known for poetry and social commentary, focuses mostly on the suffering of Palestinians. It was not clear whether al-Mallohi's arrest was connected to the blog.

"She was detained on the accusation of spying for a foreign country," the Syrian official said. "Her spying led to an attack against a Syrian army officer by the agents of this foreign country."

The official did not specify which country al-Mallohi allegedly spied for or elaborate on the attack on the Syrian officer. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media.

Her father, Dosar al-Mallohi, told The Associated Press that he and his wife visited their daughter at Doma prison in a Damascus suburb last Thursday and that she was in good health.

It was the first time they had seen their daughter or told of her whereabouts in nine months, he said, but declined to elaborate.

He added that she has not been formally charged but that he'll hire a lawyer to defend her.
Last month, New York-based Human Rights Watch called for al-Mallohi's release.

"Detaining a high school student for nine months without charge is typical of the cruel, arbitrary behavior of Syria's security services," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said at the time.

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