Including 20 in December
SNHR has published its periodic report on victims who died due to torture for the month of December. The report documents the killing of no less than 476 individuals due to torture in 2016 at the hands of the main influential parties in Syria including 20 individuals in December 2016.
The report notes that the Syrian authorities denies executing any arrests and, instead, accuses Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups such as ISIS of doing so. Additionally, the Syrian regime doesn’t acknowledge any torture or death-due-to-torture cases. SNHR obtains information from former prisoners or prisoners’ families where most of the families get the information they have about their detained relatives through bribing officials in charge. Syrian authorities usually don’t give back the dead bodies of the prisoners to their families. Also, in most cases, families are scared to go and get the dead bodies of their relatives or even their personal items from military hospitals out of fear of being arrested themselves.
The report sheds light on the difficulties SNHR team encounters in the documentation process on account of the ban imposed against it and the fact that its members are being pursued by various parties. In light of such circumstances, it might be difficult to fully verify deaths as the process remains subject to ongoing documentation and verification.
The report records no less than 447 deaths due to torture at the hands of the Syrian regime forces in 2016 including two children and seven women. Additionally, eight individuals died due to torture at the hands of ISIS, and four at the hands of Fateh Al Sham Front (Formerly Al Nussra Front). Also, 10 individuals, including one child, died due to torture at the hands of armed opposition factions, while six individuals, including one woman, died due to torture at the hands of Self-management forces in addition to one case at the hands of groups the report wasn’t able to identify.
According to the report, Daraa governorate recorded the highest toll of victims who died due to torture in 2016 with 103 individuals. The remaining death toll is distributed as follows:
73 in Homs, 64 in Damascus suburbs, 60 in Hama, 47 in Deir Ez-Zour, 34 in Aleppo, 31 in Damascus, 34 in Idlib, 10 in Al Hasaka, 9 in Al Raqqa, 8 in Latakia, 2 in Tartus, 1 in Qunietra.
The report notes that among the most notable cases of death due to torture in 2016 were:
Eight engineers, seven university students, four media activists, one teacher, one pharmacist, one photographer, two journalists, one nurse, one paramedic, two athletes, one lawyer, one medical personnel, three children, eight women, four elders, three cases that involved victims from the same family
The report sheds light on the toll of December 2016, where Syrian regime forces was responsible for the killing of 18 individuals due to torture, while two individuals died due to torture at the hands of armed opposition factions.
The report documents that Damascus suburbs governorate saw the highest number of victims who died due to torture in the month of December with 5 individuals. The remaining toll is distributed across Syrian governorates as follows:
4 in Idlib, 3 in Daraa, 2 in Aleppo, 2 in Latakia, 1 in Damascus, 1 in Homs, 1 in Deir Ez-Zour, 1 in Hama.
The report notes that among the cases of victims who died due to torture were one doctor and one journalist.
The report affirms that this considerably huge number of victims who are dying under torture every month, with taking into consideration that the actual number of deaths is most likely higher, unequivocally indicates a systematized policy that is being adopted by the head of the ruling authorities. All of the state’s organs, branches, and figures are fully aware of these policies. Furthermore, these policies were enforced in a widespread manner which constitutes crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Finally, the reports call on the Security Council to implement the Resolutions adopted on Syria and hold all those who violate the Resolutions accountable.