Amnesty International is seeking aid from the US and Russian governments to investigate conditions at Saydnaya prison, where they say up to 13,000 opponents of Bashar al-Assad were secretly hanged.
The reports come as some semblance of stability begins to return to a nation at the center of the refugee crisis. The infamous facility outside Damascus is said to be responsible for murder, torture, and enforced disappearances where bodies are disposed of in mass graves. Prisoners included peaceful protesters along with rebels who took up arms, and anyone else who could be in opposition to the government led by President Assad.
A former prison official was quoted as saying they were “doctors, engineers, protesters,” and that “They were somehow understood to be linked to the revolution. Saydnaya is the place to finish the revolutionaries. It’s the end for them.”
The human rights watchdog group is calling for the United Nations to launch an independent investigation into what it calls “war crimes and crimes against humanity”.
Prisoners in #Sednaya were indiscriminately tortured & starved.
Some ate chunks of concrete ceiling, in desperation.
– Before/After pics: pic.twitter.com/5pbXYx5Fgn
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) February 7, 2017
According to Amnesty’s report “Many of the prisoners said they were raped or in some cases forced to rape other prisoners. Torture and beatings are used as a regular form of punishment and degradation, often leading to life-long damage, disability or even death,” and “The cell floors are covered with blood and puss from prisoners’ wounds. The bodies of dead detainees are collected by the prison guards each morning, around 9 a.m.”
Amnesty’s website provides the ability to contact both the Russian and US governments about Sadnaya, with the disclaimer that you can choose to not disclose your identity by writing under a pseudonym.
[Via The Washington Post]