Detained Syrian girl's mutilated body found: Amnesty

23rd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

An 18-year-old whose mutilated body was found by her mother in a mortuary appears to be the first woman among more than 100 Syrians to have died in custody since protests erupted in March, Amnesty International said on Friday.

The London-based human rights watchdog said that the family of Zainab al-Hosni had been visiting the mortuary in the flashpoint central city of Homs on September 13 to identify the body of her activist brother Mohammad Deeb, who was also apparently tortured and killed in detention.

While there, "by chance" and "in horrific circumstances," her mother discovered her decapitated body, which had also had the arms cut off and skin removed.

Mohammad Deeb, 27, had been organising protests in Homs since mass demonstrations against President Bashar al-Assad's regime first broke out, and his sister is believed to have been detained in July in a bid to put pressure on him to turn himself in.

He was eventually arrested on September 10, three days before his mother was asked to pick up his body from the mortuary. The body showed signs of torture, including bruising on the back and cigarette burns, Amnesty said.

The family were not permitted to take Zainabs body home until September 17 and only after her mother had reportedly been made to sign a document saying the siblings had been kidnapped and killed by an armed gang, it added.

"If it is confirmed that Zainab was in custody when she died, this would be one of the most disturbing cases of a death in detention we have seen so far," said Amnestys deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, noting that it brought to 103 the number documented since March.

"The mounting toll of reports of people dying behind bars provides yet more evidence of crimes against humanity and should spur the UN Security Council into referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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