Amnesty International report finds 'systematic torture' by Assad regime
Syrians are dying at a rate of ten per day inside Bashar al Assad’s prison system, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
Accounts of organised torture, rape and ritual beatings, based on interviews with 65 survivors, add to the body of evidence of crimes against humanity against prisoners by the Assad regime.
Boris Johnson has suggested Britain work with Assad against ISIS, but clarified his position when made Foreign Secretary in July, saying ‘the suffering of the Syrian people will not end while Assad remains in power’.
The Amnesty report has detail of ‘systematic torture’ with more than 17,723 believed to have died in custody in Syria since March 2011, when protests began against the regime.
This is equal to 300 per month or ten each day.
The Amnesty evidence follows a United Nations report in February which said regime atrocities in prisons amounts to a policy of ‘extermination’.
Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty, said:
‘The catalogue of horror stories featured in this report depicts in gruesome detail the dreadful abuse detainees routinely suffer from the moment of their arrest, through their interrogation and detention behind the closed doors of Syria’s notorious intelligence facilities.’
Assad’s regime had seen deaths in prison for years before the protests and civil war. But the numbers have shot up from 45 per year to the equivalent of 3,600.
‘For decades, Syrian government forces have used torture as a means to crush their opponents.
Today, it is being carried out as part of a systematic and widespread attack directed against anyone suspected of opposing the government in the civilian population and amounts to crimes against humanity.’
He called on the United States and Russia (Assad’s chief ally), as the two countries chairing peace talks, to bring torture ‘to the top of the agenda’ with Syrian authorities and armed opposition groups.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.