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Syria bars medical access for protesters: HRW

April 12, 2011 Comments off

reuters.com

(Reuters) – Syrian security forces prevented wounded protesters reaching hospitals and stopped medical teams from treating them in two towns during last Friday’s demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

Pro-democracy protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s 11-year rule have been shaking the country, known for its heavy-handed security apparatus, for more than three weeks.

Protests after mass Friday prayers have generally been the largest because emergency law, in force since the Baath Party took power in 1963, bans any gatherings and demonstrations not sponsored by the state.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said 27 people were killed in the southern city of Deraa and one other in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Friday.

“To deprive wounded people of critical and perhaps life-saving medical treatment is both inhumane and illegal,” said Sarah Leah Witson, HRW’s Middle East director.

“Syria’s leaders talk about political reform, but they meet their people’s legitimate demands for reform with bullets.”

Based on witness accounts, HRW said security forces set up a roadblock near a bridge in Deraa to prevent protesters crossing to the other part of town.

One witness said about 50 soldiers were in front, surrounded by several thousand uniformed and civilian-clothed members of security services as well as snipers.

When protesters ignored the army’s warnings to stop, security forces fired with Kalashnikovs and snipers opened fire at the same time. Read more…