Many tributes to Hamza al-Khateeb, such as this one drawn by a child, have been posted to the Facebook group set up to commemorate his life - and death [Facebook] (al Jazeera source)
The U.N. children's agency UNICEF called on Syria on Tuesday to investigate reports of "horrific acts" of violence against children detained during the current wave of unrest in the Arab country.
The call came after The New York Times reported on Monday that an online video showed a 13-year-old boy, arrested at a protest on April 29, who it said had been tortured, mutilated and killed before his body was returned to his family.
Protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in southern Syria in March and have spread across the country. Human rights groups say 1,000 civilians have been killed and 10,000 arrested in a government crackdown.
In a statement, UNICEF said use of live ammunition against demonstrators had reportedly killed at least 30 children, although it said it could not independently confirm that figure or the circumstances of their death.- Advertisement -
The agency said it was "particularly disturbed by the recent video images of children who were arbitrarily detained and suffered torture or ill-treatment during their detention leading in some cases to their death."(FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE)
Excerpt from al Jazeera:
Hamza al-Khateeb used to love it when the rains came to his small corner of southern Syria, filling up the farmers' irrigation channels enough so that he and the other children could jump in and swim.
But the drought of the last few years had left the 13-year-old without the fun of his favourite pool.
Instead, he'd taken to raising homing pigeons, standing on the roof of his family's simple breeze-block home, craning his neck back to see the birds circling above the wide horizon of fields, where wheat and tomatoes were grown from the tough, scrubby soils.
Though not from a wealthy family himself, Hamza was always aware of others less fortunate than himself, said a cousin who spoke to Al Jazeera.
"He would often ask his parents for money to give to the poor. I remember once he wanted to give someone 100 Syrian Pounds ($2), and his family said it was too much. But Hamza said, 'I have a bed and food while that guy has nothing.' And so he persuaded his parents to give the poor man the 100."
In the hands of President Bashar al-Assad's security forces, however, Hamza found no such compassion, his humanity degraded to nothing more than a lump of flesh to beat, burn, torture and defile, until the screaming stopped at last.- Advertisement -
Arrested during a protest in Saida, 10km east of Daraa, on April 29, Hamza's body was returned to his family on Tuesday 24th May, horribly mutilated.
The child had spent nearly a month in the custody of Syrian security, and when they finally returned his corpse it bore the scars of brutal torture: Lacerations, bruises and burns to his feet, elbows, face and knees, consistent with the use of electric shock devices and of being whipped with cable, both techniques of torture documented by Human Rights Watch as being used in Syrian prisons during the bloody three-month crackdown on protestors. (FOR FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE)