Torture devices and evidence of abuse have been found in government-controlled prisons in the city of Raqqa, the first city to come under the control of the opposition, a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) claims.
Torture devices and evidence of abuse have been found in government-controlled prisons in the city of Raqqa, the first city to come under the control of the opposition, according to a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The human rights organisation said its researchers had found physical evidence that Syrians were tortured. They also found a device which former detainees said was used to stretch or bend victims’ arms and legs.
Documents indicating Raqqa residents were detained for legal actions like demonstrating or helping the injured were also found.
Human Rights Watch researchers visited the State Security and Military Intelligence facilities in Raqqa in late April 2013.
“The documents, prison cells, interrogation rooms, and torture devices we saw in the government’s security facilities are consistent with the torture former detainees have described to us since the beginning of the uprising in Syria,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
“Those in control of Raqqa need to safeguard the materials in these facilities so the truth can be told and those responsible held accountable.”
Human Rights Watch researchers also interviewed five people formerly held by Military Intelligence in Raqqa, who said that security forces had detained and interrogated them there.
HRW has been documenting abuses on both sides of Syria’s civil war during the 26 months of conflict. Abuses committed by the Assad regime are far more deadly and widespread, including attacks on civilians with indiscriminate battlefield weapons such as widely banned cluster bombs.
HRW says, however, that rebel abuses have increased in recent months.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.