The Committee to Protect Journalists, along with 78 international human rights and press freedom groups, has called on the Syrian government to release three Syrian human rights activists who have been imprisoned for more than two years.

A Syrian court is expected to issue a verdict in the cases of Mazen Darwish, Hussein Ghrer and Hani Zitani on Sept. 24. Darwish was the director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression when he was arrested in February 2012 along with his two colleagues.

The three are standing trial on charges of "publicizing terrorist acts."

In a joint statement issued Friday, the groups describe the trial as a "sham" and call on the government to release the three activists immediately.