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25 May - 10:51 pm NZ
Updated at 10:23 am on 6 October 2011
An 18-year-old Syrian woman who was reported dead last month during anti-government demonstrations has appeared on state television.
Opposition activists and rights groups had said that Zainab al-Hosni's decapitated and mutilated body was found by her family in a mortuary.
PHOTO: AFP / SANA
But in the interview she said she had run away from home to escape beatings by her brother.
Human Rights Watch said the mother of Zainab al-Hosni has confirmed the woman is her daughter.
Human rights groups are now urging the Syrian authorities to disclose the identity of the dismembered body and explain why Ms al-Hosni's family was allowed to believe that she was the victim.
Amnesty originally reported that the 18-year-old was abducted by suspected security men in July in an apparent attempt to induce her activist brother Mohammed Deeb al-Hosni to turn himself in.
The woman shown by Syrian television said she had left home two months ago to live with a relative because she was abused by her brothers, and that her family did not know she was alive.
The state news agency said that although state media had revealed the true story of Hosni and other cases, international media continue to try and undermine the Syrian leadership, "which is bent on executing a comprehensive reform programme and preserve security of the homeland and citizens".
Syrian activists said in postings on the social networking site Facebook that the woman who appeared on TV was a lookalike.
The army deployed in Homs, where Hosni is from, after large pro-democracy protests several months ago. Demonstrations have continued despite the crackdown, amid tensions between the city's majority Sunni and minority Alawite inhabitants.
Copyright © 2011, Radio New Zealand
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