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Amnesty International: Syrian forces use hospitals for torture

October 25, 2011 |  4:07 am

A Syrian Kurd protester
REPORTING FROM BEIRUT--The Syrian government has “turned hospitals into instruments of repression,” Amnesty International said in a new report.

The human rights group issued the report Monday alleging the torture of wounded patients and of medical professionals suspected of treating wounded protesters.

Many victims in need of medical care have avoided going to government hospitals, Amnesty International said, and have instead sought treatment at private facilities or “poorly equipped” makeshift field hospitals.

In many cases, hospital staff members appear to have taken part in torture and ill treatment of the wounded, Amnesty International said in its 39-page report.

There was no immediate response from the Syrian government.

At least 3,000 people have died in violence since protests against President Bashar Assad erupted in Syria in mid-March, according to the United Nations.

Rights groups and various governments, including the United States, have assailed the Assad administration’s crackdown on protesters. The Obama administration has called for Assad to step down.

Damascus has blamed “armed groups” for the violence and says more than 1,000 security officers have been killed.

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Syrian dissidents in U.S. fear reprisals back home

-- Patrick J. McDonnell

Photo: A Syrian Kurd opposed to President Bashar Assad waves a Lebanese flag and chants slogans against the Syrian regime during a protest in front of the Syrian Embassy, in Beirut, Lebanon, on Sunday. Credit: Associated Press

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