Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Syria: Investigate Possible State Role in Decapitating Woman

Kidnappings, Deaths of Detainees, Including Woman’s Brother, Widespread in Homs

Human Rights Watch

September 27, 2011

"(New York) – The killing and mutilation of Zaynab al-Hosni, 18, by unknown persons highlights the urgent need for the UN Security Council to demand access to Syria for an international investigation into rampant killings and torture in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Zaynab, whose brothers are active in anti-government protests, had vanished in late July after going out to buy medication for her mother. Syrian authorities returned al-Hosni’s dismembered body to her family on September 17, 2011, without providing any information on the circumstances surrounding her killing, and forced her mother to sign a paper stating that “armed gangs” had killed her....

Syrian security forces either killed and mutilated Zaynab al-Hosni or are turning a blind eye to gangs committing gruesome murders against anti-government activists and their families,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “In either case, the government of Bashar al-Assad is perpetuating a climate of terror in Syria and fanning the flames of sectarian mistrust.”

The deaths in the al-Hosni family are part of a troubling trend of assailants, sometimes unidentified and other times belonging to the security forces, kidnapping people from areas known for their opposition to the government and “disappearing” them until the day their family receives a call, usually from a local public hospital, asking them to pick up the person’s body....."

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