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Whither the Damascus Spring? Syria Steps Up Crackdown on Reformers

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

In late April, Dr. Kamal al-Labwani signed on to a letter from political and human rights activists that had been smuggled out of Damascus Central Prison. The letter urged Syria's embattled activist community, particularly hundreds of detainees awaiting judgments, not to despair, for "they are not alone" and "there is hope for a peaceful resolution of the crisis of freedoms and human rights in Syria." Two weeks later, on May 10, al-Labwani stood in a Damascus courtroom to hear a guilty verdict passed down upon him; three days later, two more pro-reform advocates received jail sentences.

One-by-one, non-violent Syrian advocates for change are falling victim to what observers call a blatant government campaign to decimate the country's long-embattled reform movement. ...

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