LONDON, Aug. 31 (UPI) -- At least 88 people, including 10 children, have died in detention in Syria in the government crackdown on protests, a humanitarian rights group said.
In a report released Wednesday Amnesty International said the death toll from April to mid-August far exceeds Syria's usual annual total of five custody deaths.
"These deaths behind bars are reaching massive proportions and appear to be an extension of the same brutal disdain for life that we are seeing daily on the streets of Syria," said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International's researcher on Syria.
The report said injuries on many of the victims indicated they probably suffered horrendous beatings and other abuses.
All 88 victims cited in the report were male, some as young as 13.
They were detained because they were involved in or suspected of being involved in pro-reform protests.
"We believe the Syrian government to be systematically persecuting its own people on a vast scale," Sammonds said.
Amnesty International has called on the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria, freeze the assets of President Bashar Assad and refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.