Toll of Victims of Torture is Higher than its former Levels prior to Ankara Ceasefire Agreement
SNHR has published its periodic report on victims who died due to torture for the month of January. The report documents the killing of no less than 22 individuals due to torture.
The report notes that the Syrian authorities the denies executing any arrests and, instead, accuses Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups such as ISIS. 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.
Additionally, the report notes that Ankara Ceasefire Agreement went into effect on December 30, 2016. Nonetheless, breaches haven’t stopped, mainly by the Syrian regime, who is seemingly the party that would be affected the most should the ceasefire go on, especially crimes of extrajudicial killing, and, more horrendously, dying due to torture, as the number of victims dying to torture is higher than the past month before the agreement went into effect. This strongly proves that there is some sort of ceasefire on the table. The crimes, however, that the international community wasn’t able to notice, and particularly the Turkish and Russian sponsors, are still ongoing as nothing has changed in that regard.
The records that 19 died due to torture at the hands of Syrian regime forces, while three individuals died due to torture at the hands of armed opposition factions.
The report documents that Deir Ez-Zour governorate saw the highest number of victims who died due to torture in the month of January with 5 individuals. The remaining toll is distributed across Syrian governorates as follows: 3 in Aleppo, 3 in Daraa, 2 in Homs, 2 in Damascus, 2 in Damascus suburbs, 1 in Idlib, 1 in Al Hasaka, 1 in Hama, 1 in Al Raqqa, and 1 in Latakia.
The report notes that among the cases were one university student.
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.