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Amnesty International Accuses Syria Of Torture In Hospitals

Antigovernment demonstrators march through the streets of Homs earlier this month.
Amnesty International says patients are being tortured in state-run hospitals in Syria.

The London-based group says the Syrian government has turned hospitals into "instruments of repression" against protesters opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a new report, the rights group says wounded patients in at least four state-run hospitals had been subjected to torture and other abuse, including by medical workers.

"The Ministry of Health has instructed health professionals, hospitals, to report wounded persons to the authorities," Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa researcher Cilina Nasser, told RFE/RL by telephone from London. "And we all know that this will put the wounded persons at risk of arrest. And usually, in Syria, when you do get arrested, you are tortured."

The Amnesty reports says many civilians consider it safer not to go to the hospital to seek treatment.

It maintains that hospital workers suspected of treating protesters have themselves faced arrest and torture.

According to UN estimates, more than 3,000 people have been killed in a security crackdown since protests against Assad's regime began in March.

compiled from agency reports