Syrian activists, humanitarians, and human rights monitors estimate that there have been at least 300,000 civilians unlawfully detained in Syria - the vast majority of them held in the Syrian regime's secret military detention centers. Unlawful detention, abuse, and torture of detainees has been a feature of the Syrian regime for decades. However, since the onset of the revolution, the use of torture inside Syrian prisons has escalated considerably, used as a primary tool to control political dissent. Since March 2011, at least 17,700 Syrians have died in custody.
Amnesty International has documented 13,000 mass hangings by the Syrian regime against its opponents - in Saydnaya prison alone.
Addressing the issue requires:
1. Moratorium on all execution orders
As long as legal rights, protections, and assistance are denied detainees in regime prisons, there must be a moratorium on all execution orders--especially those issued by military and secret courts.
2. Access for international monitors
In order to shed light on the rampant human rights abuses that occur in Syrian prisons, independent international monitors like the ICRC must be granted immediate and unconditional access to all regime detention centers.
3. Family support
We urge an agreement allowing detainees access to their families, many of whom have been held incommunicado for months and years. We also demand a compensation mechanism for the families of victims and missing persons.
4. Psychological support
Former Syrian detainees suffer psychological trauma from the abuses they have endured. A mechanism must be put in place to offer psychological support to those who have been released.
In 2014, the Caesar Report was released, detailing the torture and murder of nearly 7,000 detainees by the Syrian regime in only 2 years. The victims still have not achieved justice.
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