Amnesty: Huge increase of deaths in Syrian prisons
The number of deaths in Syrian prisons increased significantly this year, Amnesty International said Tuesday, describing it as one of the "most shocking features" of the regime's crackdown on protesters.
"No less than 88 such deaths have been reported to Amnesty International as occurring during the period from April 1 and August 15," including 10 children aged between 13 and 18, the human rights group said.
"The sharp rise in the number of reported deaths in custody has been one of the most shocking features of the government's bloody crackdown on the protests," the London-based group added.
This figure was "already many times higher than the yearly average over recent years," Amnesty said, noting the previous average annual death rate was five.
All 88 fatalities were male.
For at least 52 of them, Amnesty said "there is evidence that torture caused or contributed to the deaths."
"Such an increase in deaths cannot be a coincidence. It appears to be the expression of the same brutal violence that is being shown daily in the Syrian streets," said Reto Rufer, who heads the Middle East for the Swiss chapter of Amnesty International.