Saturday, July 9, 2011

Syria: Defectors Describe Orders to Shoot Unarmed Protesters

"Defectors from Syria's security forces described receiving, and following, orders to shoot on protesters to disperse them, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch interviewed eight soldiers and four members of the security agencies who had defected since anti-government protests erupted in March 2011. Those interviewed participated in the government crackdown in Daraa, Izraa, Banyas, Homs, Jisr al-Shughur, Aleppo, and Damascus. The soldiers also reported participating in and witnessing the shooting and injury of dozens of protesters, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of hundred"

"The testimony of these defectors provides further evidence that the killing of protesters was no accident but a result of a deliberate policy by senior figures in Syria to use deadly force to disperse protesters. Syrian soldiers and officials should know that they too have not just a right but a duty to refuse such unlawful orders, and that those who deliberately kill or injure peaceful protesters will be subject to prosecution"

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