14 Mar 2012

Amnesty says Syria should be held to account for torture

9:53 pm on 14 March 2012

Human rights group Amnesty International has called for the prosecution of those responsible for torturing civilians in Syria during the suppression of anti-government protests.

Amnesty says it counted 31 different forms of torture while interviewing dozens of Syrians who have fled into Jordan. Some 25 of them had been tortured or ill-treated in detention, Amnesty says.

It says officials are using techniques including suspending and then beating detainees with fists and rifle butts.

Many of those from whom Amnesty gathered testimony say children are among the torture victims, the BBC reports.

"The testimonies we have heard give disturbing insights into a system of detention and interrogation which, a year after protests began, appears intended primarily to degrade, humiliate and terrify its victims into silence," Ann Harrison of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa Programme told the BBC.

International journalists face severe restrictions on reporting in Syria, and it is hard to verify such reports.

The United Nations says it will deploy monitors in countries bordering Syria to collect evidence for possible prosecutions at the International Criminal Court.