Syria running 27 torture centres - report

2012-07-03 07:35

New York - Syrian intelligence agencies are running torture centres across the country where detainees are beaten with batons and cables, burned with acid, sexually assaulted, and their fingernails torn out, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report released on Tuesday.

The New York-based rights group identified 27 detention centres that it says intelligence agencies have been using since President Bashar al-Assad's government began a crackdown in March 2011 on pro-democracy protesters trying to oust him.

HRW conducted more than 200 interviews with people who said they were tortured, including a 31-year-old man who was detained in the Idlib area in June and made to undress.

"Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They put staples in my fingers, chest and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The staples in the ears were the most painful," the man told HRW.

"They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again. They tortured me like this three times over three days," he said.

The report found that tens of thousands of people had been detained by the Department of Military Intelligence, the Political Security Directorate, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate.

International Criminal Court

HRW documented more than 20 torture methods that "clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity".

The group called for the UN Security Council to refer the issue of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials carrying out abuse.

"The reach and inhumanity of this network of torture centres are truly horrific," Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at HRW said. "Russia should not be holding its protective hand over the people who are responsible for this."

Russia - an ally of Syria - and China have already vetoed two council resolutions that condemned Damascus and threatened it with sanctions and French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters on Monday that reaching a Security Council consensus to refer Syria to the ICC would be difficult.

"As France is concerned it's very clear we are very much in favour of referring Syria to the ICC," Araud said.

"The problem is it will have to be part ... of a global understanding of the council and I do think that for the moment we have not yet reached this point," he said.

More than 10 000 killed

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday reiterated her position that the issue of Syria's conflict should be referred to the ICC in The Hague because crimes against humanity and other war crimes may have been committed.

She said both sides appear to have committed war crimes.

The United Nations has said more than 10 000 people have been killed during the 16-month Syria conflict.

The complete Human Rights Watch report, which includes maps of the detention centers, can be seen here.

  • pete.moore.12 - 2012-07-03 07:56

    Headline should read...CIA and Al Queda running 27 torture centres.

      Greg - 2012-07-03 08:35

      Propaganda... Wake up people, don't let the media tell you what to think, do your own research!!. None of this would have happened if the west never financed terrorists to over throw a government. They also fail to mention the FEMA camps set up all over the USA intended for their own citizens.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 16:59

      You're both being arrogant and foolish. The blood of Syrian families is on your hands. Wake up!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 07:57

    And the world just allows this assad criminal to continue terrorizing and murder anyone in his way!!!! Totally unbelievable, we have such weak leaders !!!

      badballie - 2012-07-03 08:12

      Why not they let America do it with impunity?

      Greg - 2012-07-03 08:41

      Assad is not the criminal. He is mearly defending his country from FOREIGN terrorists. The people fighting are not all from Syria, the CIA & MI5 have been creating false flag attacks to gain support on the invasion, just like in Lybia.. Remember... The door to Iran is through Syria.... And Remember... The only country's in the WORLD not infected by Zombie bankers are Syria and Iran. Its all about global domination and has nothing to do with peace for humanity.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 17:04

      Greg, you're a very arrogant person. You're saying you know better than Kofi Annan who has specifically stated, after exhaustive investigations, that Assad has not complied with the peace-plan and is committing atrocities across Syria. You're saying you know better than the countless Syrian refugees who've fled Syria to Jordan and Turkey. The blood of Syrians is on your hands.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 18:00

      Exactly what are you referring to Badballie?

  • Ryno - 2012-07-03 08:14

    wow...yes we have problems in SA, but i am glad i do not live there

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-03 08:16

    Americans call it "enhanced interrogation", think Guantanamo and Bahgram. Not to mention all the overseas rendition sites.

      Greg - 2012-07-03 08:45

      THE USA is full of "FEMA Camps" ready to house hundreds of thousands of people, and this is not a conspiracy theory, the media simply decides what we should and shouldn't read...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 18:46

      Exactly what does this have to do with the Syrians being tortured right now by Assad? Nothing. All it says is how blindly obsessed you both are. Syrians are being tortured and slaughtered by an unelected dictator who sees himself as the bloody surgeon of Syria. You should feel positively ashamed about your willful blindness.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-04 06:24

      "The New York-based rights group"

  • martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-03 08:56

    god bless america and england, they only fight for god, (gold, oil and drugs)

  • klipkop.degroote - 2012-07-03 09:23

    Guantanamo bay?!

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 09:49

    It seems the radicals/extremists are having fun in their little world, entertaining each other !!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-03 10:03

      Wake up and open your blue eyes blinded by mainstream propaganda, and thank these posters for bringing a small but powerful snippets of reality to your attention.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 10:27

      It is the same old crap, that radicals/extremists have been entertaining each other with for the last 60 years!!!!! It is soooooooooo booooooooooooring, over and over and over and over...........................!! It is just a fact; Radicals/extremists have never yet put a plate of food on any table than that for themselves !!!!

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-03 12:30

      fidel, says an anc supporter

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 20:40

      Coming from you Patrick, he must be pleased

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 21:37

      patrick, I much prefer this funny side of yours, than the one with the hatred and filth. Keep it up !!!!

  • wallace.outkast - 2012-07-03 11:20

    is it different with the cia and mossad?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-03 18:47

      That has zero to do with this article. Wake up. You're being stupid.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-03 11:41

    Some of these comments here are absolutely disgraceful. Here is nation whose people are being slaughtered by the thousands, by this assad criminal and his terrorist army, and all these radicals and extremists can do is to have fun and games. Fortunately, these radicals make up less than 2 % of the world population !!! ---------------------WHAT A BUNCH OF LOSERS !!!!--------------------

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