Watchman Newsletter

Syria�s attorney-general �resigns over mass execution in Hama�

The Telegraph (Link) - Barney Henderson (August 31, 2011)

Syria�s attorney-general has resigned after witnessing a mass execution of 72 prisoners in one day and over four hundred bodies being buried in public parks, according to a video statement posted online on Wednesday night.

In the video, the man, thought to be Adnan Bakkour, the country�s leading legal official, said he was resigning because of the �al-Assad regime and his gangs.�

The state news agency reported on Monday that Mr Bakkour had been kidnapped by rebel gunmen in the village of Karnaz on his way to work in the central city of Hama.

Mr Bakkour says in the video that he saw the killing of 72 prisoners at Hama�s central prison on July 31, including peaceful protesters.

He says 420 bodies were buried in mass graves in public parks, that 10,000 peaceful protesters are being held in prisons and that 320 prisoners died after being tortured.

He claims that troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad buried people alive by demolishing homes in Hama with people inside. He then named �criminals� who had assassinated unarmed protesters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Wednesday claimed that 473 Syrians have been killed during protests against the Assad regime during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The death toll of 360 civilians included 25 children and 14 women, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said 113 members of government forces were also killed during the month, which has just ended.

In all, more than 2,200 Syrians have been killed since the start of a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in March by President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled the country for 40 years.

The latest figures were disclosed as soldiers backed by tanks raided houses in Homs, Hama and Houla in central Syria, and made arrests while looking for anti-government protesters.

Regime forces also threatened the relations of activists with arrests unless they turned themselves in. Dozens of Syrians have died in custody since protests began.

Amnesty International has said that at least 10 children died recently in detention centres where inmates suffered beatings, burns, electric shocks and mutilation.

The victims, some as young as 13, were among 88 deaths in custody over the past three months, the group said. Neil Sammonds, its Syrian researcher, said it was evidence of a �brutal disdain for life.�

Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, yesterday called President Assad�s actions �irreparable,� telling French diplomats that France would do whatever was �legally� within its power to ensure a victory for the pro-democracy movement. �