Teenage blogger accused of spying in Syria

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Syria has accused a 19-year-old blogger, who is in prison, of being a spy, an official said yesterday.

It was the first comment from authorities on a case that has sparked calls by a leading rights group for the young woman's release. Tal al-Mallohi was taken into custody in December. Her blog, known for poetry and social commentary, focuses on the suffering of Palestinians. It was not clear whether Miss al-Mallohi's arrest was connected to the blog.

"She was detained on the accusation of spying for a foreign country," the official said. "Her spying led to an attack against a Syrian army officer by the agents of this foreign country."