Syria charges hundreds with 'degrading the state'

Rights group estimates almost 8,000 arrested, 560 civilians killed in anti-government protests against Assad's 11-year autocratic rule.

By REUTERS
May 4, 2011 14:03
2 minute read.
Protestors in Syria

Protestors in Syria 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

AMMAN - Hundreds of Syrians have been charged with "degrading the prestige of the state", a Syrian rights group said, in President Bashar Assad's drive to crush pro-democracy protests against his 11-year autocratic rule.

The charge, which carries a three-year prison sentence, was lodged on Tuesday against hundreds of people detained this week ahead of the Muslim day of prayer on Friday, when the largest demonstrations calling for Assad's overthrow are typically seen.

RELATED:
Filmmakers back pro-democracy protesters in Syria
'Syrian forces deploy in Banias arresting Sunnis'

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"Mass arrests are continuing across Syria in another violation of human rights and international conventions," said Rami Abdelrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The campaign intensified after a tank-backed army unit, led by Assad's brother Maher, last week shelled and machine-gunned into submission the old quarter of Deraa, cradle of the six-week-old uprising.

Wissam Tarif, executive director of the Insan human rights group, said 2,843 detainees had been verified by family members and the actual number could be as high as 8,000. More than 800 of them had been taken from Deraa.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East


Those detained across the country include activists, community leaders, people seen taking videos or pictures on mobile phones and people suspected of uploading videos on the Internet, Tarif said. But security forces were also randomly detaining people in Deraa and Douma, Tarif said.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Security forces have killed at least 560 civilians in attacks on demonstrators since the protests erupted in Deraa on March 18, human rights groups say.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday the use of tanks, arbitrary arrests and power cuts in Deraa was "...quite barbaric and amounts to the collective punishment of innocent civilians".

Amnesty International said protesters told the rights group they had been beaten with sticks and cables and were subjected to harsh conditions, including a lack of food.

"The use of unwarranted lethal force, arbitrary detention and torture appear to be the desperate actions of a government that is intolerant of dissent and must be halted immediately," Amnesty official Philip Luther said.

Residents of Damascus suburbs, where many were arrested, said roadblocks and arrests had intensified this week in areas around the capital. One resident said she saw security forces in plain clothes putting up sandbags and a machine-gun on a road near the town of Kfar Batna on Tuesday.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

November 14, 2018
Car plant shows limits to Iran's economic ambitions in Syria

By REUTERS