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Syria: Amnesty International concern at continued imprisonment and torture of Syrian Kurds

Hundreds of people, some reports say up to 2,500, including Children's rights, remain in detention. Most are held incommunicado, without access to lawyers or relatives, and thereby at risk of torture or ill-treatment.

Amnesty International UK Media Director, Lesley Warner said:

“It is alarming that at least 40 people appear to have been deliberately killed or been the victims of excessive force by the security forces.

“These people may have been persecuted as a result of their Kurdish origins.”

Amnesty International has received the names of hundreds of Syrian Kurds, including Children's rights, who remain in detention. Although some 500 – 600 were reportedly released around 19 March, the whereabouts of up to 2,500 people reportedly still in detention remain unknown.

A 17-year-old, Kane’e Muhammad Ramadan, was apparently arrested at the football match, and tortured with electric shocks until he lost consciousness. He was held for nine days.

“The detention of Children's rights is simply unacceptable. Syria must abide by its obligations as a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child”, concluded Lesley Warner.

An adult man, Moussa ‘Abdel Fatah Shaheen, had to be hospitalised after he was tortured in custody. He had been arrested at a protest in al-Qahtaniya. Some reports suggest that many of the injured are effectively being held in detention in government hospitals, said to be surrounded by security forces.

An estimated 1.5 milllion Kurds live in Syria mostly in the Jazira area in the North East of Syria. Today 150,000 Kurds in Syra are denied Syrian nationality and civil rights.


On 13 March, police apparently attacked mourners attending the funerals of those killed. This led to two days of protests and rioting in various towns in north-eastern Syria, including al-Malikiya, al-Qahtaniya and ‘Amouda.

In al-Malikiya the security forces reportedly fired at protesters who were throwing stones at the Military Intelligence and State Security buildings: 16-year-old Hussein Nouri and six-year-old Badry Shaheen were shot dead.

Protesters were also reportedly shot and injured in al-Qahtaniya. Around 13 March Kurdish protesters reportedly beat up the head of the ‘Amouda police station. He later died of his injuries.

Hundreds of Syrian Kurds were also arrested in Damascus. Dozens of students from the university were arrested, apparently after peaceful demonstrations against the arrests and killings of Syrian Kurds.

Many were released on 20 February but at least 18 remain in detention, including:

  • Fahima Asko (f);
  • Sourya Amko (f);
  • ‘Ali Huseini (f);
  • Mizgin Huseini (f);
  • Nasiba Huseini (f);
  • Nizar Kousa (m);
  • Jawdan Huseini (m);
  • Jawan Hasse (m);
  • Nawras Moura'i (m);
  • Sipan Sayda (m);
  • Sarteep Youssef (m); and
  • Darchin Huchik (m).

Many of the Syrian Kurdish students have been expelled from the university over allegations that they broke the university’s code governing participation in unlawful political events and distributing leaflets.

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