Syria running clandestine torture centers
Victims beaten, burned with acid, sexually assaulted, their fingernails torn out
Syrian intelligence agencies are reportedly running torture centers across the nation. Detainees are allegedly beaten with batons and cables, burned with acid, sexually assaulted, and their fingernails torn out, according to Human rights Watch.
More than 20 torture methods were identified that 'clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity.'
The agency conducted more than 200 interviews with people who said they were tortured. One 31-year-old man shared his story of torture.
Detained in the Idlib area last June, he was ordered to undress. "Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They put staples in my fingers, chest and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The staples in the ears were the most painful," the man told HRW.
"They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again. They tortured me like this three times over three days," he said.
According to the report, tens of thousands of people have been detained by the country's four main intelligence agencies: Department of Military Intelligence, the Political Security Directorate, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate.
"Each of these four agencies maintains central branches in Damascus as well as regional, city, and local branches across the country. In virtually all of these branches there are detention facilities of varying size," HRW said.
More than 20 torture methods were identified that "clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity."
Human Rights Watch called for the U.N. Security Council to refer the issue of Syria to the International Criminal Court and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials carrying out abuse.
"It's imperative that we get a ceasefire," Annan's spokesperson Ahmed Fawzi said this week. "It's going to be a long, bumpy road, but we believe that commitments made in Geneva were genuine and if applied as promised will have an effect."
At talks in Geneva this past weekend, members of the international community agreed that a transitional government should be set up in Syria to end the bloodshed there. The role of what Syrian President Assad might play in the process was not addressed.
Fawzi said that China and Russia were very supportive of the agreement, in which ministers committed to apply "joint and sustained pressure" on the government and opposition in Syria.
"Many forces have joined hands here on Saturday ... don't underestimate the shift particularly from Russian and China."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, torture, Idlib, HUman Rights Watch, United Nations
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