Syrian jail riot kills at least 25

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A riot in a prison located in the Syrian city of Damascus has resulted in 25 deaths, according to reports provided by human rights groups. Military police fired into the rioters, who were protesting against alleged violence by prison guards against prisoners.

Prisoners have claimed that they have been routinely beaten by guards. One prisoner said that, "they [the guards] shackled our hands behind us, confiscated our clothes and possessions, and beat us. And they insulted the Koran, they trod on the Koran."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights strongly criticized the Syrian government's reaction to the incident in a statement released yesterday: "The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights demands that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad intervenes immediately to stop this massacre."

Some of the prisoners have claimed that they have taken hundreds of hostages in order to increase the pressure placed on the Syrian government to respond to the prisoner guards' actions.