Islamic State militants in Raqqa, Syria crucified a 17-year old boy they accused of taking pictures of the group's military headquarters. Images of the three-day public execution in Raqqa’s central square appeared on the Twitter site of the secular Syrian activist group “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.”
The boy was shown hanging on a cross with a sign around his neck condemning him with the crime of apostasy for his actions. The Islamic State also claimed he received 500 Turkish liras for each picture he took of their military base.
Charlie Winter of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank, is quoted as saying, “Crucifixion has been used many times before – it’s an age-old punishment dealt out to people who have committed treason.”
Winter said the punishment of crucifixion is based on the group’s reading of Verse 33 of the fifth book of the Koran, which says: "Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.
“That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.”
In addition to its trademark beheadings – severed heads can often by seen on the street posts of Raqqa -- the Islamic State has also used crucifixion in the past as a form of punishment. For example, the group is believed to be responsible for leaving a number of bodies on crosses in Raqqa for two days last May.
The activist group, “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently,” was formed to expose the brutality of the Islamic State to the world. Despite extreme danger, activists from the group are still operating in Raqqa (see video below).
With basic human rights whittled away to nearly non-existent, one activist spoke to the Wall Street Journal and detailed what daily life is now like in Raqqa, the terror group’s de facto headquarters.
The activist reported how the group has enlisted ordinary citizens -- including children, whom they pay -- to be informants among the population. Reminiscent of the Soviet era, where children were taught to turn in their parents, the activist related how Raqqa’s citizenry has, out of necessity, become suspicious of each other, afraid of making one fatal wrong move or statement and being turned in to their brutal tormentors.