World holds concerns over child deaths in custody in Syria

originally by: The Australian
2nd June 2011

An 11-year-old girl was among the victims of an assault by Syrian troops, activists said yesterday, bringing the official number of children killed in the uprising to more than 30. The girl, who has not been named, died when Government forces fired bullets and shells in the towns of Rastan and Hirak on Tuesday, leaving at least 33 dead.

Details of her death came days after it emerged that Hamza al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old boy, reportedly died in police custody.

His battered and mutilated body was returned to his family at the end of last month, four weeks after he went missing after attending a protest in the southern town of Saida.

A video of the corpse posted online showed his swollen face, broken neck, shattered jaw and body riddled with gashes, scratches and burns. There were bullet holes in his arms, sides and chest, and other abuses.

“These are the reforms of the treacherous Bashar,” an off-screen narrator said in the internet clip. “Where are human rights? Where are the international criminal tribunals?”

Activists claim that Hamza was tortured to death but the Syrian Government has insisted that he was shot during a demonstration. State-run television aired a statement from Dr Akram Shaar, who examined the body and said that the apparent torture marks were the result of natural decomposition since the boy’s death.

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