Disturbing televised video allegedly showing shackled and bruised patients in a Syrian military hospital falls in line with evidence of torture gathered by the United Nations Human Rights Council, a council spokesman said Tuesday.
The video above was shot by an employee of the Military Hospital in the central Syrian city of Homs, who said he had witnessed electrocutions, whippings, operations without anesthetics and other brutal treatment of patients, according to a televised report by Channel 4 News in Britain.
Torture in Syrian military hospitals has been documented by United Nations commissions. One report found that regime security agents "chained seriously injured patients to their beds, electrocuted them, beat wounded parts of their body or denied them medical attention and water," Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Tuesday in a statement.
The stories echo those recounted by Doctors Without Borders, which has reported that Syrians wounded during the uprising face torture and arrest when they seek medical help.
An elderly Syrian patient told the humanitarian group he had seen a man crushing an injured patient with his feet. “Judging by his uniform, he was an officer," the patient told Doctors Without Borders, speaking anonymously for his safety. "At the end, the officer finished off the injured man.”
Human rights groups say doctors are persecuted if they try to treat people injured in protests. Some doctors have tried to resist, secretly treating the wounded in makeshift clinics with few supplies. One Syrian doctor said in an interview last month that he had struggled to treat a bullet wound to the chest.
"Usually you would have a chest X-ray, but we couldn’t risk his life by transporting him to a hospital," the doctor said.
The Syrian regime has been condemned by the United Nations for widespread human rights abuses as it combats an uprising against President Bashar Assad. With restricted access for journalists, amateur videos have become an important testament of the violence.
The government says it is defending itself against terrorists and says many amateur videos are staged or misrepresented. It declined to comment on the allegations, Channel 4 News said.
-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles
Video: Video made by a Syrian military hospital employee purportedly shows evidence of torture. Credit: Channel 4 News