A report prepared by a group of international investigators after studying thousands of leaked images from Syria revealed that torture and killing is practised systematically in Syrian prisons. The report said, “The images are enough to prove that the regime has committed crimes against humanity”.
The group preparing the report studied 55,000 images of detainees killed in detention centres. The images revealed that prisoners were killed by beating, strangulation, and even starvation.
According to the report, the detainees in the images were detained between the period of March 2011 to August 2013. Detainees that were killed were transferred from prison to a military hospital, where they were photographed before being taken for burial in the countryside areas.
The images were leaked by an officer who was responsible for photographing the dead bodies. He later defected, and took the images with him. He met with the group three times, who described him as a credible and trustworthy source.
The officer did not know why the Syrian security services photographed the bodies, but pointed to the possibility of the desire of leaders to ensure the implementation of the execution orders.
These images provide a clear picture on the violations taking place inside Syrian prisons, of which local and international human rights organisations have been speaking about for years without being able to provide concrete evidence as a result of the great difficulties in obtaining such information from inside Syrian prisons.
SHRC’s annual report, released only days ago, also pointed to the fact that the violations related to the detention and abduction of Syrians is one of the most dangerous violations taking place in Syria, even in comparison to the violations related to the killings, injured, and refugees. This is because it is a dossier devoid of the necessary information related to its victims, causing legal, political and even social affects. For example, it is not possible for the relatives of victims to deal either legally or emotionally with their victim, unlike the relatives of those who have been killed and whose body has been handed over to them. The case of what happened to those who permanently disappeared since the 1980s remains suspended till today, and thousands of families do not know of the fate of their children who disappeared at that time. This also affects many social and legal issues such as marriage, inheritance, and so on.
The report was prepared by Desmond De Silva (the former United Nations Chief Prosecutor of war crimes in Sierra Lione), Geoffery Nice (former lead Prosecutor of ex-Yugoslavian President, Milosevic) and David Crane (who officially indicted the Liberian President, Charles Taylor).
The full report can be read here.