|Tal al-Mallouhi, the youngest Prisoner of Conscience|
First news of jailed Syrian blogger Tal al-Mallouhi transpired last week (May 12) owing to the release of activist Razan Ghazzawi.
“We demanded 2 join the 3 political prisoners isolated downstairs: Tal Mallouhi, Hadiya Yousef & Manal Nasif. We joined them 4 days ago,” Ghazzawi tweeted on her release.
Ghazzawi is media officer at the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression ( -- www.scm.bz). She has been in and out of jail since the start of the Syrian revolution 14 months ago. Her latest spell lasted 22 days.
“Home safe and sound but Mazen Darwich [head of SCM], Hussein Ghrer, Abdrahman Hmadeh, Mansour Omari and Hani Zetani remain in jail,” she tweeted Saturday.
|One of many posters to Free Razan|
Ghazzawi, who tweets as @RedRazan added: “In Adra Prison, we stayed for 22 days, we weren't allowed to be in contact with prisoners, no phone calls -- except once; 2 days ago.”
And: “In 22 days since our arrest, we met 10 women politically arrested in Adra prison, 9 of them are from Daraa alone.”
Ghazzawi said: “Those released today [May12] were: Yara Bader, Sanaa Mehsen, Mayada Khalil, Hanadi Zahlout, Joan Ferso, Ayham Ghazzoul, Bassam Ahmad and I.”
It is difficult to single out any political prisoner or prisoner of conscience, but my heart skipped a beat when I read Ghazzawi had been in a cell with Tal al-Mallouhi.
The young girl was arrested by the Assad regime in 2009, when she was just 17. She was condemned to five years in prison in 2011.
At the time, veteran Middle East publisher F. Najia blogged a guest post for Mich Café titled “Jailed Syrian teen defines terror.” Najia, who since blogs at Arab Saga, wrote then about Mallouhi:
A special Syrian security court this week jailed a teenaged blogger for five years on charges of spying for a foreign country, despite U.S. calls for her release.
Tal al-Mallouhi, born 4 January 1991, is a high school student and a Syrian blogger from Homs. She is considered the World's youngest Prisoner of Conscience. She was sentenced February 15 but has been under arrest since 2009.
Tal published her writings in three blogs. One is listed as Mudawenati, Arabic for "My Blog." Another is titled "Latters" -- probably a misspelling of Letters – and features a series of 35 messages. All are titled "Messages to Man in this World" and conclude with the footer: “I won’t bid you farewell because I’ll always be with you.” Tal's third blog is dubbed "Palestinian Villages."
The 12th of her 33 messages, dated 7 November 2008 and posted before she turned 18, tackles the controversial definition of terrorism. She hoped it would be read to world leaders at the United Nations "for them to know that terrorism in the world is not only the killing of innocent people in booby-trapped cars and trains and the obliteration of towers. Terrorism takes other shapes and colors that plague every human being on Earth. Tackling the consequential types of terrorism would help us eradicate terror by individuals and groups.”
Tal lists this set of 24 serious terrorist activities:
- Absence of judicial independence
- Deception of the public
- Denial of freedom of expression and creative thought dissemination
- Abuse of antiquities, sanctities and places of worship
- Possession of nuclear arms and development of weapons of mass destruction
- Collection of taxes from the public to wage fictitious wars
- Manipulation of state policies by multinationals
- Packing state institutions with crammers
- Monopolization of key medication
- Driving people to dread their future
- Shunning agreements to protect the environment
- Uprooting people from their habitat unjustifiably and for specific purposes
- Failure of nations to apologize for wars they instigated
- Blackmailing a nation for a specific historic event
- Jailing people without trial and failing to apply the law on a ruler before applying it on a subject
- Putting any world institution under a rich or powerful nation’s hegemony
- Toleration and support of despotic rulers
- Countenance of any poverty and famine anywhere in the world
- Any state seeking to monopolize the right to progress, education and knowledge
- Any state that dubs as terrorists people seeking to free their homeland or territories
- Any state that attacks a religious faith or belief for political motives
- Any state that tries to appropriate another’s territory
- Any state that strives to control another’s riches
- Any state that threatens to use force against another state before exhausting all peaceful means
I can’t imagine what Tal’s family and the families of those still behind bars must feel, let alone the incarcerated men and women themselves. If my heart skipped a beat, what happens to theirs on hearing, or while waiting to hear, about their loved ones?
Jailed Syrian teen defines terror -- February 17, 2011
Another Syrian blogger held -- February 22, 2011