The United States has condemned the jailing of a former member of Syria's parliament and has demanded his immediate release.

Tom Casey, a U.S. State Department spokesman, expressed concern Tuesday about Riad Seif, who was arrested Monday as part of a crackdown against opposition activists.

In August, the State Department urged Syria to allow Seif to travel outside the country to receive urgent medical treatment. A spokesman said Syria denies freedom of movement to hundreds of its citizens who peacefully question the political system under which they live.

President Bush issued a statement in December calling on Syria to release hundreds of opposition activists jailed for their political beliefs.

Since December, at least 10 opposition activists have been detained by Syrian authorities.

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