Syria: Hasan, death under torture at 24

Activist murdered is remembered by journalist cousin in Rome

12 June, 17:42

(ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, JUNE 12 - ''The body of your son is here in the hospital. You can come and collect it''. This is the brief statement to the family of Hasan Azhari, 24 year-old Syrian activist and fourth-year student of Pharmacy, with which they have just now learned of his fate: arrested in April, held in a cell for over two months without any formal accusation, tortured and then killed.

''Hasan studied pharmacy because that's what he could aspire to study given his marks in high-school. He was a calm person, shy, with a soft unshaven beard, almost resembling an adolescent,'' this is the first account bathed in grief, offered by Fouad Roueiha, Italian journalist of Syrian origin, cousin of Azhari.

''Hasan was like a brother, more than just a cousin'', Roueiha added. He is the Rome editor of the Radio Agency Amisnet.

''With the glasses he wore, Hasan had the face of the typical good guy. He was also followed Islam and was very observant, just as his family were. This was for sure his sin, as he never took part in politics and for sure wasn't in any way hot headed.'' Azhari, originating from the port of Latakia, was a member of the local activist coordination committees, who gave the news today of his death and the story of his effort to document the violations committed by the regime during the 15 months of people's protests and armed revolt.

His role was that of verifying daily the exact numbers of the victims of the government's repression. ''He also helped to prepare the demonstrations and to document them with photos and films. He had shot numerous incidents of government forces' violations in the Latakia region, using his only weapon: his camera'', say the people at the Coordinating Committees, who recently repeated their adherence to the principles of a non-violent revolt. Azhari was arrested on April 13 and for weeks there had been no news of him. ''When they told me of Hasan's arrest, 72 days ago, I was in disbelief, I thought it couldn't be possible'', Roueiha recalls. According to the Committees, his body has been subjected to ''the worst tortures''. ''Who knows when they actually killed him'', Roueiha asks himself in a post published on Facebook. ''In what condition they brought the corpse to the family, with the signs of unspeakable tortures, suffering and humiliation, perhaps already consumed by the time which has passed since his death?''.

''I think of his mother,'' Roueiha concludes, ''how not to go crazy thinking of your helpless son, shouting and crying in pain, without having been able to help him? And his father! How could you blame him if he is to take up a gun tomorrow? I hope their faith can help them...'' (ANSAmed).

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