The 24 pages report is issued as part of Amnesty International worldwide campaign against torture. The report includes testimonies from people of different nationalities who were detained in the prison because of their links with a number of different political groups. It finds that Tadmur Prison appears to have been designed to inflict the maximum suffering, humiliation and fear on prisoners and to keep them under the strictest control by breaking their spirit.
The report concludes:
Tadmur Military Prison has become synonymous with suffering. Conditions in Tadmur Prison are brutalizing and dehumanizing. They contravene the principles set out in international standards such as the UN Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and in themselves constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In spite of numerous grave allegations of torture and ill-treatment in Tadmur Prison, the Syrian authorities have failed to respond to the persistent calls by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations for an independent and impartial investigation into these human rights violations.
In its April 1995 report Amnesty International highlighted the impunity with which the Syrian security forces had been able to arbitrarily detain and torture political suspects, secure in the knowledge that they would not be held to account for their actions. Particular reference was made to the lack of investigations by the authorities into reports of torture, deaths in custody and “disappearances”.
Amnesty International reiterates its call for the authorities to combat
impunity by bringing those at all levels who are responsible for human rights violations to account and in particular those responsible for the decades of gross abuses of human rights which have characterized Tadmur Prison.
It is crucial that the Syrian Government order a full, impartial and independent investigation into all allegations of torture and reports of deaths in custody in Tadmur Prison. Special attention should also be given to the very harsh prison regime and appalling conditions
of detention in Tadmur Prison.
All those held in Tadmur Prison have a right to have their fundamental human rights respected. This right will be denied them until the Syrian Government takes real steps to ensure that those responsible for violating those rights are brought to justice.
The report recommends:
1. The Syrian Government should immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience from Tadmur Military Prison. All other political prisoners, who have, without exception, been sentenced in unfair trials, should also be immediately released if they
are not to be promptly tried in fair trials on recognizably criminal charges. In any case, all prisoners who are not members of the security services should be immediately released or transferred to recognized civil prisons.
2. Amnesty International calls on the Syrian Government t
ensure that no torture or other ill-treatment is carried out on any detainee bymembers of the Syrian security services;
bring the administration of Tadmur Military Prison and other prisons under proper and effective judicial control;
implement international standards with regard to treatment of prisoners and prison conditions such as the UN Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment;
introduce urgent measures to establish an independent body competent to receive complaints to inspect Tadmur Military Prison and other prisons and to make recommendations regarding the improvement of prison conditions;
completely separate the authorities responsible for interrogation and prison administration, and give security services and prison guards training in human rights principles and standards;
ensure regular and frequent family visits, access to doctors and lawyers and other contact with the outside world for all prisoners.
3. Amnesty International calls on the Syrian Government to undertake urgently a complete review of the record of Tadmur Military Prison with the view t
conducting a thorough judicial investigation — preferably through a specialized commission of inquiry — into all reports of torture and ill-treatment. Such a body should have the power to investigate all deaths in custody and the fate of al those who “disappeared in Tadmur Military Prison, and to review military trials and executions carried out during the last two decades in Tadmur Military Prison. It should make its findings and recommendations public. Those found
responsible for human rights violations should be brought to justice;
informing the families of those who died in custody or were executed in Tadmur Military Prison where their relatives were buried or, wherever possible, the remains of their should be returned to them for burial;
ensuring that the victims of torture and prolonged detention without trial or after Field Military Courts or other unfair trials be rehabilitated and compensated.
4. Amnesty International calls on the Syrian Government to ratify the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment without reservations and to implement its provisions.
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