Syrian blogger jailed for five years

Young Syrian blogger, Tal al-Mallouhi, has been sentenced to five years in prison by a state security court on espionage charges. Mallouhi, who was 18 at the time of her arrest in December 2009, was accused of spying for the US embassy in Egypt and held incommunicado for nine months before her family was allowed to see her. Before her arrest she ran a blog that focused on poetry, social commentary and Palestinian issues. A poem criticising restrictions on freedom of expression in Syria may be the reason behind her arrest, activists have suggested.