Amnesty Int'l accuses Syria terrorists of rights violations

Amnesty Int'l accuses Syria terrorists of rights violations
Thu Dec 19, 2013 08:37:58

The organization of Amnesty International has accused an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group in Syria of abducting, torturing and killing detainees at secret prisons in areas under its control.

The rights group said on Thursday that detainees held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) include children as young as eight and that minors have been sentenced to severe floggings and held with adults in "cruel and inhuman conditions".

It described individuals being seized by masked men, held for weeks on end in solitary confinement at unknown locations and tried by self-styled courts that mete out death or floggings with little if any due process.

Former detainees described being beaten with rubber generator belts or cables, tortured with electric shocks and being forced into a painful stress position known as the "scorpion" in which the detainee's wrists are bound over one shoulder.

Amnesty said some people are detained for common crimes like theft while others are jailed for smoking or because they challenged ISIL's rule or belong to other armed groups.

In recent months, ISIL has kidnapped dozens of Syrian activists and news providers, as well as several foreign journalists.

Amnesty described one court near a dam on the Euphrates River where a judge had instituted a "reign of terror," saying he invariably wore an explosives belt to trials and meted out punishments within minutes.

Amnesty said two 14-year-olds were among those sentenced to floggings, and described how one father was forced to listen to his son's screams of pain as he was tortured in a nearby room.

The rights group called on Turkey and Persian Gulf states -- which support mainstream militant groups -- to take measures to prevent the flow of arms and aid to ISIL and other groups accused of human rights violations.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.


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