YouTube unblocks video of 13yo Syrian boy allegedly tortured, killed by government thugs


YouTube has reinstated access to a graphic, horrifying video of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, a 13-year-old child who is reported to have been tortured, castrated, and killed by Syrian government thugs after being separated from his mother and father at an April protest against the Assad regime. A link to the video is here; it is extremely disturbing and not appropriate for viewing by children. The video was apparently blocked by YouTube due to its shocking content, then unblocked after reporters and human rights advocates petitioned YouTube administrators.

The boy's corpse was returned to his family a month after his arrest. As The Nation reports, they "risked their lives to produce the video."

The New York Times reports that his father was detained after the video went public, and he has since been missing.

The New York Times describes the video:

But the remains themselves testify all too clearly to ghastly torture. Video posted online shows his battered, purple face. His skin is scrawled with cuts, gashes, deep burns and bullet wounds that would probably have injured but not killed. His jaw and kneecaps are shattered, according to an unidentified narrator, and his penis chopped off.

More from The Nation:

By Tuesday, however, the video that shot from the web to Al Jazeera to the streets of Syria — where people marched carrying signs emblazoned with the deceased child's portrait — had been blocked on YouTube, the very site where it first launched. The temporary blockage of the brutal video, which YouTube has since restored, is another reminder that the same social media platforms which help spread protests can also seriously hinder activists.

Further on in that piece, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression Jillian York says YouTube handled the matter of the video itself pretty well (for what it's worth, I agree):

Generally, I've found that YouTube does a good job at keeping graphic violence up when there's context. I've helped activists at times get their videos back up on YouTube by going through the appeals process and adding context.

Predictably, the Syrian state-controlled media went into full denial mode on this story, saying the boy is no 'Child Martyr.' From The Atlantic:

[To] Syria's state-run media, the tale amounts to nothing more than "lies and false accounts" spread by "satellite channels and websites." The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) has just published an article giving its version of events surrounding Hamza's death.