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US Citizen Accused of Spying on Syrian Protesters

Syrian women hold the national flag and protest in front of the Syrian embassy condemning the killing and torturing women in Syria by Bashar al-Assad's regime, in Amman, Jordan, September 29, 2011.

The United States has charged a Syrian-born U.S. citizen with spying on anti-Syria protesters in the U.S.

U.S. officials Wednesday said Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid also has been charged with providing information to Syrian agents about protesters in the U.S. and Syria. That information allegedly was to be used to intimidate, silence and possibly harm the protesters.

Syria immediately issued a statement denying that Soueid was working for them. The statement vehemently denied that any U.S. citizen is working with the Syrian government to intimidate U.S. citizens, and it challenged the Justice Department to provide any evidence that the Syrian embassy had recruited anyone to inform on "any sorts of activities."

A six-count indictment unsealed Wednesday in the eastern U.S. state of Virginia charges Soueid with acting as an unregistered agent of the Syrian government, and making false statements to U.S. law enforcement officials and when buying weapons.

The Justice Department said Soueid, a resident of Leesburg, Virginia, was arrested Tuesday. If convicted, he faces maximum prison terms of 15 years on conspiracy and foreign agent charges, 15 years on weapons purchase charges and 10 years on false statement charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.