A suicide bomb in Syria's capital, reportedly aimed at a police bus, killed and wounded dozens today, the AP reports, as the country's political turmoil continues. And more disheartening news: A human rights group yesterday claimed that the government regularly tortures hundreds of prisoners; according to its research 617 have died from the torture since the country's uprising began. Avaaz claims that prisoners are held both in prisons and places like sports stadiums and cinemas. There, they are reportedly deprived of sleep and subjected to electric shocks; those in charge break prisoners' arms, wrists, and fingers, a detainee told Avaaz.
And though Syrian officials yesterday said they had released a new batch of prisoners, Avaaz estimates some 37,000 detainees are still being held in prisons and secret centers; another watchdog cited 16,000. The New York Times was unable to confirm the numbers due to the country's tight restrictions on journalists, but does note that the Arab League monitors, entrusted with verifying that the government is keeping its promise to release these prisoners, aren't permitted to tour military sites, where rights groups believe the government is stashing people. The League says it's bringing an additional 110 observers to Syria within days.