SYRIA: Second teenager tortured to death

Summary: A 15-year-old Syrian boy was returned to his parents six weeks after disappearing at a rally, with a broken neck, broken leg, bullet holes, a missing eye and several teeth.

[10 June 2011] - The body of a 15-year-old Syrian boy, bearing signs of what activists called torture, was returned to his parents six weeks after the boy disappeared.

Video footage of the boy's body obtained by Al Jazeera from a Syrian source shows what appear to be gruesome wounds: Riddled with bullet holes, the boy's body is missing an eye and several teeth, his neck and leg broken. A large part of his lower face is now a large hole.

Al Jazeera Video: Syrians decry "torture" of teenage protester (Warning: Graphic)

Hundreds in the town of Jeeza mourned the death of Thamer al-Sahri Wednesday. The boy had vanished six weeks ago along with his friend, Hamza al-Khatib, a 13-year-old whose tortured remains were released by Syrian authorities in late May.

Hamza's body was covered in burns and scorch marks - signs of being tortured by electric shocks and cigarettes. Hamza's neck had been broken, his arms shot, and his genitals cut off.

The torture of a child became an international rallying cry against the regime of President Assad.

Researcher Neil Sammonds of Amnesty International told Channel 4 News that dozens of children have been killed in the Syrian unrest - nearly 10 per cent of the 1,060 known deaths of civilians, more than doubling UNICEF's previous estimate of 30 on June 1.

"We have definitely seen a pattern of increased brutality recently," Sammonds said. "It seems security forces are now willing to use violence without provocation at all."

Amnesty International interviewed a defecting Syrian soldier who refused to fire on protesters in Harasta on April 23.

The "violent gang" turned out to be about around 2,000 unarmed demonstrators, including women and children. Many of the protesters were carrying roses.

Walid al-Qash'ami said he witnessed the killing of three children and a young man and woman. One child was shot in the head. Al-Qash'ami said he heard the officer who killed him say that he shot the kid "because he was annoyed with his constant crying."

Al-Qash'ami and five other soldiers threw down their weapons and fled.


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