amnesty syria protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
LONDON - Deaths in Syrian prisons and police detention have soared in
recent months as President Bashar Assad's government tries to crush
protests against his rule, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.
London-based human rights group said it had details of at least 88
people believed to have died in detention between April and mid-August.
At least four protesters dead in latest Syrian violence
At least 52 of them had apparently suffered some form of torture that was likely to have contributed to their death.
was a huge increase in abuse over that previously reported in the
country, Amnesty said. Before the uprising, its researchers typically
recorded around five deaths per year in custody.
behind bars are reaching massive proportions and appear to be an
extension of the same brutal disdain for life that we are seeing daily
on the streets of Syria," said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International's
researcher on Syria.
"The accounts of torture we have received
are horrific. We believe the Syrian government to be systematically
persecuting its own people on a massive scale."
Assad's government has deployed troops and tanks against demonstrators
and besieged many of its own towns in an attempt to regain control.
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says it has compiled the names of more than 1,800 people reported to
have died since the protests began in April. Thousands of others have
been arrested, it said, and many of them held incommunicado.
group said its researchers had reviewed video clips in 45 cases of those
found killed, or with injuries on many of the corpses, indicating they
had suffered beatings, burns, whipping, electric shocks and other abuse.
The victims were all male and included 10 children, some as young as 13.
All were believed detained on suspicion of being involved in the
protests. Most of the victims were from the districts of Homs and Deraa,
heartland of the protests.
Amnesty said its report
strengthened its case for Syria to be referred
to the International Criminal Court, and for an arms embargo and tighter
asset freezes and financial sanctions to be declared against senior
members of the government.
"Taken in the context of the widespread and systematic violations in
Syria, we believe that these deaths in custody may include crimes
against humanity," said Sammonds.
"The response from the Security Council has been utterly inadequate so
far, but it is not too late for them to take firm and legally binding
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