Syria releases five pro-democracy activists

Syrian authorities have released five pro-democracy activists, including two prominent former legislators, who had served 45 months of their five-year prison sentences. The pro-democracy activists were arrested in a clampdown against what was known then as the "Spring of Damascus" group. The group, comprising pro-democracy and human rights activists, gained prominence with their "political salons," gatherings at which Syrian intellectuals discussed democratic reform in this hard-line Arab state. They were convicted on charges of trying to change the constitution.