Middle East

Over 950 tortured to death in Syria this year: report

A handout satellite image released on February 7, 2017 by Amnesty International shows the military-run Saydnaya prison, one of Syria's largest detention centers located 30 kilometers north of Damascus. (AFP/Amnesty International/Handout)

BEIRUT: At least 950 Syrians have died under torture this year, according to a new report by the anti-regime Syrian Network for Human Rights. The vast majority, 939 out of 964, died at the hands of Syrian government forces, the report said.

“The norm of ‘responsibility to protect’ must be implemented in light of the government’s failure to protect its people, and the fruitlessness of the diplomatic and peaceful efforts so far,” Fadel Abdul-Ghany, chairman of SNHR, was quoted as saying in the report. “Crimes against humanity and war crimes are being perpetrated every day in Syria and mainly at the hands of the organs of the state itself.”

The report called on the Syrian government to immediately investigate all deaths in detention centers and stressed the need to suspend all death sentences based on confessions extracted under brutal torture.

However, the total figure of Syrians who have died under torture is expected to be much higher than the report’s figure, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group Rami Abdel-Rahman told The Daily Star.

SNHR’s report said at least 15 individuals are thought to have died under torture in November alone, including one woman all except one at the hands of the regime.

Deaths were recorded across both government- and opposition-held areas.

SNHR said its figures were drawn from a number of sources within Syria, including former detainees as well as victims’ friends and families who were able to bribe government officials.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 04, 2018, on page 8.

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