Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Climate of fear in Syria's hospitals as patients and medics targeted

Amnesty International
25 October 2011

(Video included)

"The Syrian government has turned hospitals into instruments of repression in its efforts to crush opposition, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

The 39-page report Health Crisis: Syrian Government Targets the Wounded and Health Workers documents how wounded patients in at least four government-run hospitals have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, including by medical workers.

Hospital workers suspected of treating protesters and others injured in unrest-related incidents have themselves faced arrest and torture.

"It is deeply alarming that the Syrian authorities seem to have given the security forces a free rein in hospitals, and that in many cases hospital staff appear to have taken part in torture and ill treatment of the very people they are supposed to care for," said Cilina Nasser, Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa researcher.

"Given the scale and seriousness of the injuries being sustained by people across the country, it is disturbing to find that many consider it safer to risk not having major wounds treated rather than going to proper medical facilities."

Amnesty International found that patients have been assaulted by medical staff, health workers and security personnel in at least the National Hospitals in Banias, Homs and Tell Kalakh and the military hospital in Homs.

One doctor at Homs military hospital told Amnesty International he had seen four doctors and more than 20 nurses abusing patients......"

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