Human Right Watch has just release a new report on torture in Assad's Syria. Take a good look at the regime Syrians are dying to replace, the old regime that the UN decreed this Saturday should be eligible for participation in the new regime.
July 3, 2012
Arbitrary Arrests, Torture, and Enforced Disappearances in Syria's Underground Prisons since March 2011
Ivan Watson of CNN has an early article on the report:
Istanbul (CNN) -- "Basat al reeh." "Dulab." "Falaqa." They are Arabic names for torture techniques that send chills through the hearts of Syrians, particularly the untold thousands who are believed to have been detained during the uprising of the last 15 months.
"We suffered torture all the time," said Tariq, an opposition activist from the port city of Latakia who spent 40 days in solitary confinement in spring 2011.
He told CNN he endured "dulab," in which torturers force the prisoner's legs and head into a car tire before beating them, and "basat al reeh," in which the prisoner is tied to a board and beaten.
"They threw cold water on our naked bodies and they also urinated on us ... they are really good at what they do," said Tariq, who now is in Turkey helping mobilize men and weapons to rebels inside Syria.
According to a report published Tuesday by the New York-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government has been carrying out "a state policy of torture" as part of an effort to crush dissent throughout the unrest.
Human Rights Watch identified 27 detention centers across Syria where torture was systematically inflicted on prisoners, according to testimonies from more than 200 former prisoners and security officers who defected.
"It is a network of torture chambers that the authorities are using to intimidate and punish people who dare to oppose the government," said Ole Solvang, a Human Rights Watch researcher.
"Nobody knows how many people are being detained, how many are being tortured," he added. "But one local activist group has collected names of 25,000 people in detention. The numbers are absolutely staggering."
The Bashar al-Assad Regime's Favorite Torture Methods
Detainees described being bound, sometimes on a chair, having cattle prongs attached to their bodies, and being jolted repeatedly by electrical currents. The prongs were reportedly attached to sensitive places including genitalia, inside the mouth, and also on the neck, chest, hands, and legs.
“I didn’t confess. The interrogator said ‘bring me the electricity.’…The guard brought two electric prongs. He put one in my mouth, on my tooth. Then he started turning it on and off quickly. He did this 7/8 times. I felt like, that’s it. I am not going to leave this branch.”
— Soldier who was held at the Air Force Intelligence branch in Latakia in June 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.
Detainees described being beaten on the soles of their feet with sticks and whips to the point that their skin was raw, their feet swollen and bleeding, making it impossible to walk.
“He ordered me to raise my legs and then he started hitting me on my soles with a thick wooden baton. I started screaming “I didn’t do anything, I can’t bear the pain.” He hit me 5 times and ordered me to stand up. After standing he told me to run in my place. I couldn’t lift my legs because of the pain.”
— Male detained at the Tadumr roundabout checkpoint and taken to the Political Security branch in Homs. Human Rights Watch interviewed him by Skype while he was inside Syria in April 2012.
|Beating with Objects
On the way to and inside detention facilities detainees described being bound and blindfolded while being beaten by batons, cables, whips, and other objects.
“There were 20 security officers. To welcome us each started beating us with a whip while we were standing. We were ten people in a row [one right after the other]. The officer hit me in the chest and I fell on those behind me and they fell down. Each security officer hit us and they were laughing. They made us lie on our stomachs and they hit the bottoms of our feet… ”
— Male detained in the Central Prison in Idlib in July 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.
Detainees described being folded at the waist and having their head, neck, and legs put into a car tire so that they were immobilized and could not protect themselves from beatings on the back, legs, and head including by batons and whips. Some detainees described having their arms inside the tire as well.
“They fold you in half, feet first, and put you inside so that you can’t move at all. Then they started beating me. They had a braided electrical cable and they hit me with it. There was no talking. It was like this for 30 minutes then they pulled me out and poured water on my legs and hands. Cold water. I was feeling death.”
— Soldier who was detained in the Military Intelligence branch in Latakia in June 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him in Hatay, Turkey in January 2012.
Detainees described being hung from the ceiling by their wrists. Some detainees described their toes barely touching the ground, while others said they were suspended in the air with their entire weight on their wrists, causing extreme swelling and discomfort. While suspended, a number of detainees told Human Rights Watch they were beaten.
“ They would beat me and say ‘don’t you want to confess!’ For an hour and a half I was hanging. I didn’t confess and they brought me down. At his point it was 3.30-4:00 am. My hands were red like blood.”
— Male detained in the Kafr Souseh neighborhood of Damascus in September 2011. Human Rights Watch interviewed him by phone while he was inside Syria.
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