According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, between March 2011 and June 2016, no less than 12,679 were killed due to torture, 99% of them at the hands of the Syrian Regime Forces. Torture is systematic, aimed at breaking, humiliating and spreading terror among the whole civilian population as a collective punishment for the uprising.
Along with torture, the Syrian regime has also systematized the use of enforced disappearances, a practice targeting women and men, minors and adults, sick or healthy prisoners.
Five years after the start of the Syrian uprising thousands of detainees are languishing in government prisons in appalling conditions. Indeed, between 2011 and 2015, the Syrian Network for Human Rights documented the arrest and detention of more than 117,000 people, mostly by government security forces. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the number at 500,000 detained and disappeared during the same period.
These mass atrocities, which violate principles of international humanitarian law and human rights law, continue to take place in Syria today. Yet, despite the clear evidences of torture in detention centers and prisons and the wider indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population, the international community failed in taking sufficient actions.
When will the international community finally act? The faith of Syrian detainees will determine, to a large extent, the future of Syria and the sustainability of any transitional process that comes next.
This special page on Syria deals with the experiences of Syrian prisoners; whether with regards to the deplorable conditions of detention, “show” trials, or captivity. It seeks to shed further light on the gravity of the methods of torture as well as the different illegal practices that take place in Syrian prisons, in order to raise awareness about the emergency of making those crimes stop and the threat they pose to international security.