Nine months ago my daughter, Tal Malouhi, a student in high school, was arrested by one of the branches of the security for reasons we do not know until this moment and I do not know anything about her fate. Sir, I knocked on the doors of all the security agencies and the presidential palace and all the official channels possible in order to be assured about my daughter or know anything about her fate or the cause of her arrest, but to no avail. Finally, I received a promise from one of the security authorities that my daughter would be released before the month of Ramadan starts. But, Ramadan is about to end now and Eid will come soon after, while our family is still suffering for our lovely daughter. Mr. President, I cannot describe to you after this disaster on our family, the amount of suffering caused to all of us. Your daughter Tal is a smart student and she loves her country and its people. She writes what comes to her young mind in honesty and transparency and in line with her age. Sir, We have no one left for us, but to address you as the father of all the Syrians in order to save the life of my daughter as she is at a tender age and does not understand anything in politics. And may you long live for our country.
Letter to Bashar al-Assad from Ahed al-Malouhi, September 2010
In February 2011, Ahed al-Malouhi found out her daughter’s fate. Tal was sentenced to five years in prison by the State Security Court on charges of “disclosing information to a foreign country,” or treason, after being detained since 27 December 2009. Her crime? Blogging poems about Palestine.
Tal was seventeen when she was arrested becoming the youngest known prisoner of conscience in the world. In addition to enduring over two years in Assad’s dungeons, the innocent girl from a conservative family in Homs has been slandered by society and her reputation has been ripped to shreds.
Tal blogged in Arabic, under her own name. Sometimes I wonder, if she had known her fate, would she have chosen a pseudonym?