Official: Syria accuses teenage blogger of spying


By The Associated Press

Syria accuses a 19-year-old detained blogger of being a spy, a Syrian official said Monday, the first comment from the authorities in a case that sparked calls by the New York-based Human Rights Watch for the young woman’s release.

Tal al-Mallohi was taken into custody last December. Her blog, known for poetry and social commentary, focuses mostly on Palestinian issues and suffering.

She was detained on 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.

It was not clear whether al-Mallohi’s arrest was connected to the blog. Her father, Dosar al-Mallohi, told The Associated Press that he and his wife visited their daughter at Doma prison 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 comment further.

Last month, 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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