Syrian government says 24 convicted of ‘terrorism’ sentenced to hang

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cypriot fires have been set and launched from Syrian territory Twenty-four Syrians are reported to have been hanged on Syrian television after being convicted of setting wildfires in…

Syrian government says 24 convicted of 'terrorism' sentenced to hang

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cypriot fires have been set and launched from Syrian territory

Twenty-four Syrians are reported to have been hanged on Syrian television after being convicted of setting wildfires in Syria and calling it “terrorism”.

The men said they were repentant when they were sentenced to death.

The video apparently captures the moments when the men are taken from their prison cells, blindfolded and led before the hanging.

Rights groups say Syrian jails are filled with inmates who have not been formally charged with a crime.

Widespread arrests following the uprising in 2011 have exacerbated the problems, as inmates with little or no connection to violence are often held.

Several Syrian human rights organisations have called for prisoners to be released or tried in fair trials.

According to reports, the men responsible for the fires included cellmates with whom they had only recently met.

In footage of the murder trial, part of which was aired in the Syrian state-run media, a court heard that the wildfires were partly caused by people “disrupting the environment” in a concerted effort to destroy Syrian agriculture.

The BBC’s Paul Adams, in Damascus, has previously reported that Syrian groups have complained of the mistreatment and torture in Syrian jails.

‘Murdered sons of Syria’

Al Jazeera’s Catherine Awad, in Beirut, said it was not the first time the fire disaster in 2016 was used to blackmail people accused of terrorist activity.

She cited another case from May, when a group of police raided a car in which they believed a man was smuggling weapons.

Rather than being arrested, they found eight secret storerooms full of weapons – and were presented with a fine of $900,000 (£626,950).

After being warned by the director of security and informed by the Syrians, they were able to flee.

Our correspondent said, the sentencing in the case is being seen as a warning to anyone planning future incidents inside Syria.

Government support would increase if they failed to comply, she added.

Leave a Comment