Refugees are continuing to stream out of Syria, where the regime is running torture centres according to Human Rights Watch.
Nearly 300 people crossed into Turkey late on Monday, including 85 defectors, according to media reports there. A general and seven officers are said to be among those to have just left Syria’s ranks.
‘Karam’ defected from Syria’s intelligence service.
Speaking about the dangers of failing to obey orders, he says the sentence for this was death.
Human Rights Watch has interviewed more than 200 people who say they have been tortured as the regime pursues its crackdown on the opposition.
Speaking under assumed names and with their faces blurred or hidden from view, each has a harrowing story to tell.
‘Wael’ said: “When we were detained in Homs Military Intelligence Prison, they hung us by our arms with our bodies suspended in the air. They beat us and said: ‘You want freedom? You want democracy? Here is your freedom? Here is your democracy’.”
The New York-based rights group says such acts are crimes against humanity. It wants the UN to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court.
“What is absolutely clear from this report is that torture is widespread and systematic,” said Ole Solvang from Human Rights Watch. “The amount of information that we have collected shows…a clear state policy and a clear tolerance of the use of torture.”
Abuse detailed in the group’s report includes massive overcrowding, detainees being beaten with batons, burned with acid and sexually assaulted.