Syria has sentenced a nineteen-year-old woman to five years in jail for writing on a blog that she "yearned for a role in shaping the future of Syria," per Reuters. Syria called it "revealing information that should remain hushed to a foreign country."
Tal al-Mallohi (transliteration of her name varies) has been detained since 2009, and since no one knew where she was or what her fate would be, rumors surfaced that she was dead. That she was sentenced this week was seen as a sign that the Syrian government was sending a zero-tolerance message to anyone inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia.
Tal's blog featured poems and posts, expressing sympathy for the Palestinian cause and requesting President Obama to do more for it. Her mother, in pleading her case, said she was just a young girl who didn't understand politics. The U.S. has called for her release.
According to an open letter sent by human rights groups and Egyptian bloggers, "Syrian prisons now are known to have the oldest prisoner of opinion in the Arab world, Haitham al-Maleh, 80 years old, and Tal al-Mallouhi, the youngest prisoner of opinion,19 years old."
According to Syrian-issues site Day Press, "Web users users in Syria reported that direct access to Facebook and YouTube, blocked since 2007, was reinstated on Wednesday. A Syrian newspaper quoted analysts as saying that the removal of firewalls blocking Facebook and YouTube demonstrated 'the government's confidence in its performance and that the state did not fear any threat coming from these two sites nor others.'"
Syria Jails Schoolgirl Blogger For 5 years [Reuters]
Related: Mother Of Young Syrian Blogger Appeals For Her Release [Reuters]
Tal al-Malouhi Gets Five Years' Jail [DPNews]
An Open Letter to The Syrian President, Bashar al- Assad Requesting to Release Tal al-Mallouhi , The Youngest Prisoner of Conscience in The Arab World [Ikhwan Web]