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Amnesty Accuses Syria of Crimes; 14 More Civilians Killed

Amnesty International has accused Syria of crimes against humanity, but Assad’s forces continue to gun down protesters, killing 14 more Tuesday.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 7/6/2011, 9:28 AM / Last Update: 7/6/2011, 9:37 AM

Amnesty International has accused Syria of crimes against humanity and demanded that the United Nations turn to the International Court for an investigation. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces continue to gun down protesters, and killed more than 20 people Tuesday.

The human rights watchdog organization said it had documented evidence that Assad’s secret police and army have carried out torture. Smuggled mobile phone videos previously have been posted showing severe beatings and murders by Syrian security forces.

"The accounts we have heard from witnesses to events in Tell Kalakh paint a deeply disturbing picture of systematic, targeted abuses to crush dissent," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director. The village is near the Lebanese border, and Syrian soldiers fired on residents fleeing for the border in May. At least one person was killed and nine other died after being arrested.

One 20-year-old told Amnesty, “They tied me up in a shabah position [strung up by the wrists and forced to stand on tiptoes] and applied electricity to my body and testicles. Sometimes I screamed very loudly and begged the interrogator to stop. He didn't care."

Assad has closed the country to foreign journalists and to groups such as Amnesty as his forces continue to mow down protesters, killing 14 people in the city of Hama, north of Damascus. Sixty tanks and dozens of armored vehicles have surrounded the city, but a dissident told Gulf News, "Security forces have a long list of names of people to arrest from Hama. We will not surrender."

Nine others were shot dead the past two days in Homs, in central Syria.

Israeli IDF Intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Tuesday that Assad still has the support of the majority of Syrians, particularly the middle class and government workers. The three-month old rebellion has strengthened day by day but so far has not drawn support in Damascus, Syria’s capital.