Syria: 19 year old blogger jailed for criticizing lack of free speech

by Kal El on February 16, 2011 · View Comments

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Syria is a secular country, but it is still a dictatorship, with tyranny passing from one dictator to his son.

Syria Jails 19-Year-Old Blogger

A Syrian security court has sentenced a 19-year-old blogger to five years in jail on charges of revealing information to a foreign country, Reuters reported Monday.The blogger, Tal al-Mallouhi, was arrested in 2009 and detained for more than 13 months without charge. Her blog mostly consists of poetry and social commentary.

According to Human Rights Watch, Syrian security services may have arrested Mallouhi for a poem she wrote criticizing restrictions on freedom of expression in Syria. According to Reuters, she had also posted a request for U.S. President Barack Obama to support the Palestinian cause. The U.S. State Department said last week that Mallouhi should be released because the allegations against her were baseless.

After grassroots movements successfully ousted repressive leaders in Tunisia and Egypt recently, many have speculated that Syria, which has been under the control of the Baath Party for 50 years, is where the next revolution will take place (other analysts say a Syrian revolution is unlikely). On February 4, a planned protest against President Assad gained 17,000 Facebook likes but failed to materialize.

Last week, the Syrian government removed a four-year-old ban on social sites like Facebook and YouTube. The move was seen by many as an attempt to preemptively quell future uprisings.

The decision to jail a high school student for her blog activities, however, seems to be a move very much in the opposite direction.

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  • Hellosnackbar

    Trouble in the Yemen,trouble in Libya,trouble in Algeria,the Ay-rab countries are in turmoil.
    And now there’s a bit of turbulence in Iran.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the natives cleared away the stinking deadwood they call governments?
    But on the other hand it might result in a bunch of crazy theocracies.
    Better the devil you know?

  • Hellosnackbar

    Trouble in the Yemen,trouble in Libya,trouble in Algeria,the Ay-rab countries are in turmoil.
    And now there’s a bit of turbulence in Iran.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the natives cleared away the stinking deadwood they call governments?
    But on the other hand it might result in a bunch of crazy theocracies.
    Better the devil you know?

  • Beejj

    I read a report this morning that Iran is sending warships through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. It would seem that they are testing the new Egyptian regime now that Mubarak, who despised Iran, has gone. All very worrying. I’d be more worried, though, to be a sailor on board one of those ships. After all, there is such a thing as the US Navy, isn’t there!! Anyone who tangles with that lot is going to have a swift journey to the sea bed.

  • Beejj

    I read a report this morning that Iran is sending warships through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean. It would seem that they are testing the new Egyptian regime now that Mubarak, who despised Iran, has gone. All very worrying. I’d be more worried, though, to be a sailor on board one of those ships. After all, there is such a thing as the US Navy, isn’t there!! Anyone who tangles with that lot is going to have a swift journey to the sea bed.

  • SirWilhelm

    The Israeli’s have threatened to take action against the Iranians, and their navy is as good as their army and air force, and less likely to be show mercy, I believe.

  • SirWilhelm

    The Israeli’s have threatened to take action against the Iranians, and their navy is as good as their army and air force, and less likely to be show mercy, I believe.

  • Kal El

    It is not so much an Arab issue, as it is a muslim one. There is unrest in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Iran, as you mention.

  • Kal El

    It is not so much an Arab issue, as it is a muslim one. There is unrest in Pakistan, Indonesia, and Iran, as you mention.

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