U.S.-born Syrian blogger released on bail

BEIRUT Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:55pm EST

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian authorities have released on bail a U.S.-born blogger who was arrested two weeks ago and charged with trying to incite sectarian strife, a media rights group said.

The Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression said Razan Ghazzawi was released on Sunday night on bail of 15,000 pounds ($270), but that she still faced trial.

The group called for all charges to be dropped against Ghazzawi, who was arrested on December 4 as she tried to cross from Syria into Jordan to attend a conference on freedom of the press in the Middle East.

Ghazzawi, 30, was among scores of bloggers and journalists arrested since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad erupted nine months ago.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed in Assad's crackdown on the protests. Authorities say more than 1,100 soldiers and security force members have been killed in violence they blame on "armed terrorist groups."

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)

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