Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Syria: Security Forces Barring Protesters from Medical Care

At Least 28 Killed in Bloody Friday Crackdown in Daraa, Harasta, and Douma

April 12, 2011


Human Rights Watch

"(New York) - Syrian security forces in at least two towns prevented medical personnel and others from reaching wounded protesters on April 8, 2011, and prevented injured protesters from accessing hospitals, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch, which interviewed 20 witnesses from three Syrian towns, urged Syrian authorities to allow injured protesters unimpeded access to medical treatment and to stop using unjustified lethal force against anti-government protesters. "To deprive wounded people of critical and perhaps life-saving medical treatment is both inhumane and illegal," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Barring people from needed medical care causes grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm." Blocking access to necessary medical treatment for people who have been injured violates the government's obligations to respect and protect the right to life and not to subject anyone to inhuman treatment, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch interviewed six witnesses from the town of Daraa, ten from Harasta, and four from Douma, towns where protests took place on Friday April 8. Those interviewed included four doctors, four injured protesters, formerly detained protesters, and families of wounded protesters.....

"Syria's leaders talk about political reform, but they meet their people's legitimate demands for reform with bullets," said Sarah Leah Whitson, director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. "They accuse the protesters of inciting divisions in Syria's society, but the violence of their security forces is what is harming Syria the most."......

Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the same night, at least 11 men and boys, were arrested in various parts of Douma by groups of security personnel who first brutally beat them with sticks and then put them in buses and drove them away. The detainees were released on April 10 - all had been subjected to prolonged beatings and other forms of torture while in detention, the people who spoke with Human Rights Watch said. "The Syrian authorities are responding to protests against repression with more repression: killings, mass arbitrary arrests, beatings and torture," Whitson said. "Syria's security forces should free those arbitrarily detained for participating in public protests and put an end to torture and ill treatment of detained protesters." "

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