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“Murdered” Syrian woman appears on state TV

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Summary of story from The Guardian, October 6, 2011

Following reports of the gruesome murder of a young Syrian woman (see WVoN story), the government has been keen to score a propaganda coup by showing an interview with her on state television.

The station described the interview as intended to discredit foreign “media fabrications”.

The woman in question, Zainab al-Hosni, was said to have been beheaded and mutilated by state security agents after being detained in July.

Hosni’s family confirmed that it was her in the film, but they could not say whether she was alive or had in fact been killed after the interview.

Last month Amnesty International said Hosni, 18, would be the first woman to have died in Syrian state custody, after her mutilated body was discovered by her family at the military hospital in her home town of Homs. She had apparently been tortured and partially dismembered.

In the interview, a black-clad young woman who identified herself as Hosni and flashed her identity card said she had run away from home in July because her brothers had abused her.

She said that her family did not know that she was alive and asked her mother for forgiveness.

“I am very much alive and I have opted to tell the truth because I am planning to get married in the future and have kids who I want to be registered,” she told her interviewer, calmly but slightly hesitantly.

Relatives confirmed that the woman they saw on TV was indeed her, said Nadim Houry of Human Rights Watch.

“This is a strange story that just got stranger,” Houry said. “Let’s establish some facts. There is a decapitated body of a woman that was buried by the Hosni family. Who is this dead girl who was buried?”

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