Amnesty International has documented the cases of at least 88 Syrians who have died in detention in Syria during five months of bloody repression of pro-reform protests, the majority of them after having suffered torture or other ill-treatment that caused or contributed to the deaths.
In a new report the international rights group said the deaths represent a significant escalation in the number of deaths following arrest in Syria. In recent years Amnesty International has typically recorded around five deaths in custody per year in Syria.
“Taken in the context of the widespread and systematic violations taking place in Syria, we believe that these deaths in custody may include crimes against humanity,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s researcher on Syria.
“The accounts of torture we have received are horrific. We believe the Syrian government to be systematically persecuting its own people on a vast scale.”
Injuries on many of the victims’ corpses, some as young as 13, indicate that they may have suffered horrendous beatings and other abuses. Signs indicating torture include burns, blunt force injuries, whipping marks and slashes.
Read GlobalPost: Torture widespread in Syria's prisons