Showing posts with label Hangings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hangings. Show all posts

February 7, 2017

Syria is Hung Thousands at Saydnaya Prison


Undated aerial photograph of Saydnaya prison, north of Damascus, Syria


A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015.
Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government.
The government has previously denied killing or mistreating detainees.
However, UN human rights experts said a year ago that witness accounts and documentary evidence strongly suggested that tens of thousands of people were being detained and that "deaths on a massive scale" were occurring in custody. 
Amnesty interviewed 84 people, including former guards, detainees and prison officials for its report.
It alleges that every week, and often twice a week, groups of between 20 and 50 people were executed in total secrecy at the facility, just north of Damascus.  Before their execution, detainees were brought before a "military field court" in the capital's Qaboun district for "trials" lasting between one and three minutes, the report says.
A former military court judge quoted by Amnesty said detainees would be asked if they had committed crimes alleged to have taken place. "Whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no', he will be convicted... This court has no relation with the rule of law," he said.
According to the report, detainees were told on the day of the hangings that they would be transferred to a civilian prison then taken to a basement cell and beaten over the course of two or three hours.


Map of Syria showing location of Saydnaya prison

Then in the middle of the night they were blindfolded and moved to another part of the prison, where they were taken into a room in the basement and told they had been sentenced to death just minutes before nooses were placed around their necks, the report adds.
The bodies of those killed were allegedly then loaded onto lorries, and transferred to Tishreen military hospital in Damascus for registration and burial in mass graves located on military land.
On the basis of evidence of the testimony of its witnesses, Amnesty estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed at Saydnaya over five years.

Witness accounts

A former judge who saw the hangings:
"They kept them [hanging] there for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn't die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn't kill them. The officers' assistants would pull them down and break their necks." 
'Hamid', a former military officer who was detained at Saydnaya:
"If you put your ears on the floor, you could hear the sound of a kind of gurgling. This would last around 10 minutes… We were sleeping on top of the sound of people choking to death. This was normal for me then."
Former detainee 'Sameer' describes alleged abuse:
"The beating was so intense. It was as if you had a nail, and you were trying again and again to beat it into a rock. It was impossible, but they just kept going. I was wishing they would just cut off my legs instead of beating them any more."
Source: Amnesty International

Although it does not have evidence of executions taking place since December 2015, the group says it has no reason to believe they have stopped and that thousands more were likely to have died.
Amnesty says these practices amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
It also notes that death sentences have to be approved by the grand mufti and by either the defence minister or the army's chief of staff, who are deputised to act on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. 
The human rights group says it contacted the Syrian authorities about the allegations in early January but has received no response.
Last August, Amnesty reported that an estimated 17,723 people had died in custody as a result of torture and the deprivation of food, water and medical care between March 2011 - when the uprising against President Assad began - and December 2015. That figure did not include those allegedly hanged at Saydnaya.
BBC

More:
http://adamfoxie.blogspot.com/2017/02/putins-ally-syria-is-hanging-dissenters.html

February 6, 2017

Putin’s Ally Syria is Hanging Dissenters in Groups of 50



                                                                         
 King of Syria who together with Putin has killed more men, women and children than Isis or anyone else


They don't know they are to be hanged, not until the noose is placed around their necks. As they are moved in groups of up to 50 people, they are told they are being transferred to another prison. Some in the “execution room” may still harbor hopes they are to be released and freed from weeks of vicious beatings, sexual violence, starvation and humiliation. 
According to Amnesty International, week in, week out, a grotesque execution routine has been under way in the jail 30 kilometers from the capital Damascus, and has been since the earliest days of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The rights organization published a report Tuesday containing harrowing details on extrajudicial killings at Syria's Saydnaya prison.
'Human Slaughterhouse'
Amnesty calculates that from September 2011 to December 2015, between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed at Saydnaya. The number may well be higher, warn the researchers of the report, “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison.” The rights organization says it has no reason to believe the executions have ceased.
The 48-page report, which took a year to complete and is based on first-hand interviews with 84 witnesses, including former Saydnaya guards and officials, detainees, judges and lawyers, as well as national and international experts on detention in Syria, is the second study Amnesty has published about the prison.
In August 2016, Amnesty, in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of London, pieced together an interactive digital model of the prison, part of a wider study on the extrajudicial killings by the Syrian government.
“Saydnaya is the end of life, the end of humanity," a guard told Amnesty's researchers.
No response from Syria
The rights organization asked the Syrian government to respond to allegations contained in the report, but received no response. VOA also emailed the Syrian Foreign Ministry, but to no avail.
The report reveals a routine of mass extrajudicial executions by hanging. Detainees included doctors, lawyers, activists, engineers and humanitarian workers, says Amnesty.
Besides the hangings, Amnesty says, “Large numbers of detainees have also been killed as a result of the authorities' extermination policies, which include repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care.” 
Judge interviewed
One of the judges interviewed by Amnesty recalled the actual killing process inside the “execution room” in the prison's “white building,” one of Saydnaya's two main blocks.
"They kept them there [hanging] for 10 to 15 minutes. Some didn't die because they are light. For the young ones, their weight wouldn't kill them. The officers' assistants would pull them down and break their necks,” he said.
Before detainees are hanged, they are condemned to death at the Military Field Court. The trials last between one and three minutes. On the day the prison authorities carry out the hangings, which they refer to as “the party,” they collect the victims from their cells in the prison's “red building.” The detainees are told that they will be transferred to a civilian prison.
“Instead, they are brought to a cell in the basement of the red building, where they are severely beaten over the course of two or three hours,” Amnesty claims.
In the middle of the night, they are blindfolded and transferred in delivery trucks or minibuses to the “white building.” This takes place once or twice a week, and on each occasion between 20 and 50 people are hanged to death,” Amnesty alleges.
Silence is enforced
The rights organization said prison inmates are regularly tortured, through severe beatings and sexual violence.
“They are denied adequate food, water, medicine, medical care and sanitation, which has led to the rampant spread of infection and disease. Silence is enforced, even during torture sessions. Many detainees develop serious mental illnesses such as psychosis,” the researchers say.
Omar, a high-school student when he was arrested, shared an experience with Amnesty, "The guard would ask everyone to take off all their clothes and go to the bathroom one by one... they would select one of the boys ...They would ask him to stand with his face to the door and close his eyes. They would then ask a bigger prisoner to rape him...No one will admit this happened to them, but it happened so often...Sometimes psychological pain is worse than physical pain, and the people who were forced to do this were never the same again."
'A monstrous campaign' 
“The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population,” said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty International's regional office in Beirut.
She added, “The upcoming Syria peace talks in Geneva cannot ignore these findings. Ending these atrocities in Syrian government prisons must be put on the agenda. The U.N. must immediately carry out an independent investigation into the crimes being committed at Saydnaya and demand access for independent monitors to all places of detention.”

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