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Human Rights Groups And Grieving Family Misled By Syrian Officials
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Human Rights Groups And Grieving Family Misled By Syrian Officials

The Syrian government and a Syrian hospital both told a grieving family that their daughter was dead. The family of eighteen year old Zainab Alhusni was at the hospital to pick up the body of their son, activist, Mohammed Alhusni who had been shot during a demonstration.  A  doctor told the family that a body tagged with Zainab’s name was in the morgue’s freezer awaiting pickup. The body, described as horribly mutilated was missing the head and both arms as well as other signs of torture. The female corpse was brought to the family’s home, washed and then buried.

The story of the young woman, reportedly attacked outside of a grocery store and taken away by Syrian forces was one that resonated worldwide, reported by both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It was a story that was meant to highlight the atrocities being committed in Syria in the name of President Bashar al Assad and his bloody crackdown and the worldwide community reacted to the news with outrage and further demands for Assad to step down.

But, just this week, a girl claiming to be Zainab Alhusni appeared on Syrian television, explaining that she was not only alive but had not been taken into custody by the Syrian security forces as had been reported. Zainab’s mother has confirmed that the girl is her daughter but has not been able to talk to her directly yet.

Several sources had been contacted when the story was first released, with the report being given that the girl was approached just as she left a grocery store. Zainab was gone with the family unsure of where she was until members of the security forces approached the family to offer a deal. Their offer was simple: the family were to meet in a specified place to turn over Mohammed in return for the safe return of Zainab. Not long afterwards, however, the family was called to the hospital to pick up their son’s body.

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch spoke to various family members when the news broke as well as trying to verify the facts with other sources.

The girl identifying herself as Zainab reports that the day she left, she did so without telling anyone that she was leaving claiming that her brothers abused and beat her. She left sometime during the start of Ramadan to live with other relatives, never letting her mother or brothers know where she was or even that she was alive. It was only after the September shooting of her brother and the reports that she had been tortured and killed that she felt the need to set the story straight.

Human rights groups are still highlighting the story because even though it was not Zainab, a girl was brutally murdered, her body mutilated and damaged. The body given to the family was reported to have been burned so badly that the bone was showing in some places. Officials forced the family to sign documents that both Mohammed and Zainab had been abducted and murdered by armed gangs.


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