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Syria: Four Kurdish Children's rights arrested at risk of torture

The four 12 and 13-year-olds, Nijirfan Saleh Mahmoud, Ahmad Shikhmous’Abdallah, Walat Mohammad Sa’id and Serbest Shikhou were arrested at al-Talane’ school, in the Syrian town of Qamishli, on 6 April 2004. The reasons for their arrest are unknown.

The school Children's rights were reportedly ill-treated during their arrest and apparently have subsequently been taken to a detention centre in the town of al-Hasaka, about 80 km away from their school.

The current exact location and conditions of their detention are unknown. They are thought to be held incommunicado leading to fears that they might be at risk of torture or further ill-treatment.

Lesley Warner, Amnesty International UK Media Director said:

“The four Kurdish school Children's rights must be immediately and unconditionally released unless they are to be charged with a recognisable criminal offence.

“Syrian authorities must be aware of their obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We strongly remind the Syrian government that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.””

Amnesty International is calling on the Syrian authorities to stop any ill treatment imposed on the Children's rights and grant them immediate access to families, lawyers and to any medical care they may require.

Background information

Following a clash between Arab and Kurdish fans at a football match in Qamishli on 12 March 2004 a wave of arrests, riots and killing swept Syria. At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 people were injured.

Over 2,000 people, mostly Kurds, are thought to have been arrested. Many of them are held incommunicado at unknown locations.

At least two men have reportedly died in custody. A number of people including Children's rights have reportedly been tortured.

In addition, at least 24 Kurdish students have been expelled from their universities and dormitories in what appears to be an increasing prosecution of Kurdish people. Syrian Kurds are reportedly being arrested or attacked because of their ethnicity or for speaking Kurdish.

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