The human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has charged that the Syrian security forces repressed the blows and arrested several members of a popular protest in the city of Sweida (in the southwest of the country) against the government’s economic management on 15 June.
In view of the Syrian government’s “relentless record”, HRW wants to express the fear of family members or relatives that detainees may die or simply disappear in custody.
The protests started on June 7, when between 50 and 100 people gathered in front of the center of the government to protest against deteriorating living conditions and corruption.
An activist who participated in the marches accused the uniformed security forces and pro-government militias, the Shabiha, of attacking them “without warning.”
The protesters were arrested knowing that some had been injured. I saw the boys arrested, they were beaten barbarically, ”the activist wailed, on the condition of anonymity.
According to family members and witnesses, the security forces arrested at least nine participants, all of whom were taken to the local civil prison.
On June 21, a lawyer from one of the families announced that a security committee in Sweida, consisting of key security officials, requested the transfer of all prisoners, with one exception, to Damascus.
Human Rights Watch has not been able to independently verify the transfers and has requested urgent release from Damascus.
“The Syrian government should immediately release all detainees who peacefully participate in the protests,” said the NGO, which called on authorities to “investigate the excessive use of force against demonstrators on June 15 and to prosecute those responsible.”