Source AP ©

Syrian court sentences dissident Labwani to 12 years in prison

A Syrian dissident who was arrested after meeting with White House officials two years ago was convicted and sentenced Thursday to 12 years in prison for contacting a foreign country and inciting attack against his country.

Kamal Labwani is one of a string prominent government critics and human rights activists being put on trial in Syria.

The judge told the court that the charges against Labwani - "contacting a foreign country, passing on messages and encouraging attack against Syria" - were punishable by a life sentence at hard labor, but he decided to give him 12 years in prison.

Labwani, a physician, did not speak and only raised his fist in the air upon imposing sentencing. Relatives shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) in defiance.

The United States has called for the dissident's release.