Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hama attorney general resigns amid new revelations of atrocities by Syrian troops

'Reform Operation'. cartoon by the Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat. Ferzat was attacked by government thugs recently and was hopitalized with broken bones in arme arm, hands and fingers. The cartoon under is - it is assumed - his reaction to the government of president Assad.

The Syrian tragedy continues unabated. According to the UN more than 2,200 people have been killed since pro-democracy demonstrations began in mid-March. The human rights group, Amnesty International published on 30 August details about 88 people it believed had died in police detention. It included videos of corpses with signs of beatings, burns, electric shocks and other abuse. On Thursday - amidst report of new raids by government troops in Hamaa - the attorney-general of the governorate of Hama, Adnan Bakkour, resigned from his post. In a video released by opposition circles Bakkour gave as reason the atrocities committed by the government troops. He said he had evidence of:
  • The killing of 72 prisoners in Hama's central prison on 31 July 2011, including peaceful protesters and political activists
  • The burying of more than 420 victims in mass graves in public parks by security forces personnel and the pro-regime shabiha militia; he said he was told to report that the victims were killed by armed gangs
  • The arbitrary arrests of peaceful protesters; he said there were approximately 10,000 prisoners in total
  • The torture of prisoners at branches of the security services; he said approximately 320 people had died under torture
  • The demolition by the army of homes with people still inside in his district of Hama, al-Hadima
 Bakkour said he would make documents supporting his allegations available later, but in the meantime would name "criminals" who he said had massacred unarmed protesters.They included the local heads of the interior ministry, police, military intelligence, air force intelligence, and the General Security Directorate. He also accused several named officers of torture.
 Residents of Hama meanwhile told Reuters  that security police and state militiamen, known as shabbiha, raided the city on Thursday for the second consecutive day. The night before they raided houses in the al-Sabouniya and al-Marabet districts, after troops backed by tanks arrested dozens in two other neighborhoods of the city on Tuesday. night. In an earlier operation at the beginning of August, Syrian forces mounted a 10-day operation in the city and arrested hundreds of people.

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