Syrian Teenager, or International Spy?

In December 2009, Tal al-Mallohi, a 19-year-old Syrian girl, was held and detained "on the accusation of spying for a foreign country," a Syrian official told the Associated Press. Al-Mallohi's alleged spying "led to an attack against a Syrian army officer by the agents of this foreign country," he added. Last Thursday, Al-Mallohi, who hasn't yet been formally charged, was permitted to see her parents for the first time in nine months. So what did al-Mallohi do to attract the attention of the Syrian government? It's not clear, but some are pointing to the content of her blog as an indicator: Al-Mallohi wrote poetry and social commentary on the suffering of the Palestinians.

Last month, the New York-based Human Rights Watch called for the young woman's immediate release.

"Detaining a high school student for nine months without charge is typical of the cruel, arbitrary behaviour of Syria's security services," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

Amnesty International has expressed fears that Ms Mallohi is at risk of torture, saying it has documented 38 different types of torture and ill-treatment used against detainees in Syria.

Read the full story at the BBC.

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Elizabeth Weingarten is an editorial assistant at the New America Foundation. A former Slate editorial assistant, she also previously wrote for and produced the Atlantic's International Channel.

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