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19-year old blogger sentenced to 5 years

charged with spying by the Syrian government

Update 12 February
Tal al-Mallouhi, 19-year old Syrian blogger, was sentenced to 5 years jail for 'collaboration with a foreign Country', i.e. the United States, by the Supreme Security Court of Damascus.
Human Rights Watch said the blogger was held in isolation for long and also US President Obama took her sides.

30 December 2011
Syria, 19-year old blogger in jail
she talked about democracy and freedom

Syria held a 19-year old blogger, Tal al-Mallouhi, last December, 27. The charges against her have been revealed only today: the young woman is accused of spying for a foreign power.

According to a governmental source, “her spying activity led to an attack to an officer of the Syrian army by agents of this power".

Two days after her arrest police seized her books, cds and dvds. According to Syrian activists and her family, the young woman was detained for publishing a poem criticizing the lack of freedom of expression in the Country. On the homepage of her site there are a picture of Gandhi and a poem in praise of Jerusalem. Amnesty International launched an appeal for her release, pointing out that the young woman may face torture and suffers from tachycardia.

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17 February 2011

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Freedom of expression

against blinkered thinking

Freedom of thought is usually the first of the fundamental rights of the human being to be targeted by authoritarian regimes, and this applies increasingly the closer it gets to the prototype of totalitarian society. Censorship muzzles the press and journalists are prevented from doing their job, 'till the point in which they are reduced to a mere mouthpiece of the state propaganda. Also the other free expressions of thought are under attack, no one is spared: intellectuals, writers, film directors... even figurative arts are under strict control. Repression heavily curbs all forms of individual sovereignty, such as above all opinions, personal ideas, which represent the worst threat for those who want to impose the "blinkered thought".
In fascist Italy, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, in maoist China and in the dictatorships of Latin America like in modern theocracies and new autocratic regimes, troublesome books were banned and even burnt on the squares, and the historian, scientists, scholars, artists who refused to line up were exiled or jailed.
Totalitarianism entered homes and imposed its grip within the family, which was dominated by the fear of being betrayed even by one's dearest ones. A mechanism of self-censorship thus started: in order to survive people preferred giving up not only expressing their views.. but even to conceive them. There was nothing left but settle for the doctrine expressed by the leaders on power.
Those who try to resist, to keep their own individual character and personal freedom, lose everything, but their independence, combined with the resistance of many other in the same conditions, undermines the very foundations of dictatorial regimes, until their collapse.

Featured story

Massoud Benhoud

a journalist persecuted for his defence of freedom of information