Syrian Islamic State (IS) supporters have publicly crucified, flogged and caged nearly 100 people accused of breaking the daytime fast observed during the Muslim holy month. UK-based monitor the Syrian Human Rights Observatory (SOHR) yesterday said it had documented 94 such punishment cases for eating in Ramadan, including five children and two old men.
Breitbart News previously reported the case of two boys “crucified” for eating in Ramadan on 23 June in Deir ez-Zour. For IS the punishment does not necessarily mean execution by nailing or tying victims to a cross. The group uses crosses and bars to pose dead bodies as a means of terrorising local populations or as a means of publicly shaming those who breach the tenets of sharia law as interpreted by IS.
In normal circumstances children do not have to fast during Ramadan. They may be encouraged to practice fasting for part of a day or for one day on the weekend, but it only becomes mandatory when they enter puberty.
The 94 cases were recorded between 22 June and 16 July and took place across the IS-held Syrian governorates of Aleppo, Al-Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour. The punishments were administered in streets and squares in front of crowds of spectators, including children, who SOHR says were encouraged to mock the victims.
SOHR reports 20 victims were caged, including a child. It reported IS used two cages in the cities of Mayadin (in Deir ez-Zour) and Al-Raqqa (capital of the Al-Raqqah Governorate). They also paraded caged citizens in the town of Dayr Hafir east of Aleppo. When it came to so-called “crucifixions” SOHR also documented that IS hung signs round the necks of victims explaining they were being crucified for a full day and given 70 lashes for “eating in Ramadan”.
SOHR said al-Hesbah, the self-declared IS morality police, learned of those eating in Ramadan from informants. Al-Hesbah has not had it all its own way, however, as evidenced by the beheading of one of its top people earlier in the year.
The Independent reported the Egyptian national’s severed head was found with a cigarette in its mouth. IS has reportedly banned smoking in areas it controls and has publicly flogged cigarette sellers.