Syrian activists release new footage of dead teen

AP News
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Posted: Jun 09, 2011 2:02 PM
Syrian activists release new footage of dead teen

Syrian activists on Thursday released footage of the body of a 15-year-old boy they said was tortured by security forces, nearly a week after anti-government protesters galvanized by another teen's death turned out by the thousands.

The dead boy, Tamer Mohammed al-Sharei, disappeared in Daraa on April 29, the same day and in the same restive area as the other young teen, Hamza al-Khatib. Video of Hamza's mutilated body turned him into a symbol of the revolt against President Bashar Assad, driving thousands to rally last Friday against the government.

The video of Tamer joins other disturbing images of children allegedly killed in the government crackdown that are circulating widely on YouTube, Facebook and Syrian opposition websites. At least 72 children and teenagers have been killed in the regime's crackdown on protesters calling for an end to the Assad regime, according to the Local Coordination Committees, a Syrian group that documents the protests.

Tamer and 13-year-old Hamza were both from the southern village of Jiza, in the province of Daraa. It was not clear if the two were friends.

Syrian opposition websites released a video of a body identified as that of Tamer in a wooden coffin, half-covered with a white sheet. Shortly afterward, a woman points at the body and screams: "This is my son! I swear this is my son!"

The blurry video, possibly recorded on a cell phone, shows what appears to be a bullet wound in his left knee as well as the number "12" inked on his chest. The boy appears to be missing most of his teeth.

Another video shows Tamer lying on a metal stand as his body is washed in accordance with Islamic tradition. A third clip shows his funeral, with dozens of people carrying his coffin on a narrow village street.

Last week, Syrian authorities ordered an investigation into Hamza's death.

Last month, UNICEF called on all parties to spare civilians, particularly children and women, and urged the government to investigate allegations of the detention and torture of children.

Human Rights Watch said in a report in late May that hundreds of people were detained daily in the province of Daraa and "the detainees, many of them children, were held in appalling conditions."

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Follow Bassem Mroue at http://twitter.com/bmroue