Syria to Investigate Boy's Brutal Execution

Footage has galvanized protesters, provoked international outcry
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2011 8:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – A wave of outrage both at home and abroad has forced Syria into investigating the torture and execution of 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib. Footage of his brutalized corpse was posted online last week, sending protesters to the streets with a renewed ferocity, and drawing rebukes from the likes of Hillary Clinton. The boy was arrested by Syrian authorities and returned dead to his parents a month later bearing evidence that he’d been beaten and electrocuted, experts tell the Telegraph.

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The boy’s tormentors also cut off his penis, shot him in both arms, and then finally delivered a killing gunshot wound to his head. Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been in damage control mode, with Assad saying he saw al-Khatib “as his son,” and a pathologist appearing on state-run television to say the bruises on the body were the result of natural decomposition. The government also released 500 imprisoned protesters yesterday. But in the streets, government forces reportedly killed 49 demonstrators, including a 4-year-old girl. More than 1,100 people have been killed by Assad's troops since March, the Telegraph notes. (Read more Syria stories.)

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