There is a network of torture centres in Syria. That’s a conclusion in a report just published by The Human Rights Watch group.
It recorded more than 200 interviews from witnesses which have been documented since the anti-government demonstrations began last March.
Twenty-seven detention facilities, and in many cases the commanders in charge as well as the torture methods they used, have been identified by former detainees and defectors who have been telling their stories.
Thirteen year old Hossam is a former detainee. He says: “The second time they brought me in, they started questioning me and electrocuting me. I passed out for about five minutes. When I came to, I found myself in the cell, my uncle wasn’t with me. He might have been in interrogation. The third time they took me in for questioning, the last time, they pulled out my nails, with pliers or a screwdriver.”
Sketch drawings in the group’s report detail the abuses which include massive overcrowding, detainees being beaten with batons, burned with acid and sexually assaulted. A defector calling himself Karam tells his story: “We used to go to the demonstrations, and we were afraid of each other. All the security forces were monitoring each other. If an order was refused by a soldier from any of the forces, his sentence would be death.”
Human Rights Watch say the evidence in their 81-page report points to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment which constitute a crime against humanity and should be investigated by the International Criminal Court.