REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Human Rights Watch documents use of torture centers

(New York) - 3 July 2012 - Former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used, and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies, Human Rights Watch said in a multimedia report released today. The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.



The 81-page report, “Torture Archipelago: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture and Enforced Disappearances in Syria's Underground Prisons since March 2011” is based on more than 200 interviews conducted by Human Rights Watch since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in Syria in March 2011. The report includes maps locating the detention facilities, video accounts from former detainees, and sketches of torture techniques described by numerous people who witnessed or experienced torture in these facilities.

“The intelligence agencies are running an archipelago of torture centers scattered across the country,” said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By publishing their locations, describing the torture methods, and identifying those in charge we are putting those responsible on notice that they will have to answer for these horrific crimes.”

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials credibly implicated in the abuses.

The facilities cited in the report are those for which multiple witnesses have indicated the same location and provided detailed descriptions of torture. The actual number of detention facilities used by intelligence agencies is probably much higher.

Almost all the former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had been subjected to torture or witnessed the torture of others during their detention. Interrogators, guards, and officers used a broad range of torture methods, including prolonged beatings, often with objects such as batons and cables, holding the detainees in painful stress positions for prolonged periods of time, the use of electricity, burning with acid, sexual assault and humiliation, the pulling of fingernails, and mock execution. Altogether Human Rights Watch documented more than 20 distinct torture methods used by the security and intelligence services.

Human Rights Watch compiled a table with the detention facilities where torture was documented, along with their respective locations, operating agencies, and commanders.

Click to view an interactive map of the torture centers, along with in-depth, satellite images of torture centres in major cities.

Latest Tweet:

Is the royal couple, Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, even aware that the Fiji government had rest… https://t.co/zStRRkroAz

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.

CLOSE