SAYDNAYA (Syrian prison) IS THE END OF LIFE – THE END OF HUMANITY.
-Former guard at Saydnaya “Abu Muhammed”
Source – Al Bawaba
The condition of human rights in Syria has been another long battle that the country has been fighting. It has been referred to as one of the worst living conditions for the citizens deprived of basic rights and subjected to torture and unsafe living conditions. But beyond the civil rights violations and terror, the Syrian prison is another hole of the abusive conditions prevailing for the detainees.
Recently, in the wake of the pandemic, various stories straight out of the prison cells started floating, where the detainees narrated the life-threatening conditions in the prisons.
Some of the testimonies mentioned the use of electric shock, mutilating, hanging from the ceiling, and cold water as common punishments for the detainees. They would be beaten if they begged for medicine or food. The guards make use of different objects like silicon bars, tires, pipes, chains, anything they can get their hands on to severely harm the people. The overcrowded prison is filled with people gasping for any breath of peace they can get hold of from the constant reek of death around them. If it’s not them, the prisoners see their fellow inmates suffering through everything and having to go through the demise of their very own.
The prisoners are regularly beaten up, thrashed, whipped, and tied for a long period.
The rotten food, untreated injuries, and negligible sanitation have been common sights in the prison. If it isn’t for the injuries, people experience psychological collapse.
Women and young girls were exposed to heinous assault and rape, and when removed for interrogation, they would return severely injured and in a dreadful mental state. Many of the female prisoners were found to have developed insanity and mental illness over time. The transport taken to move the inmates from one prison to another wasn’t far from the vile prison. The buses were lined with metal chains wrapped with mesh and blood.
After a physically tormenting interrogation, many of the detainees would be thrown into solitary confinement or were subjected to barbaric abuse. Amputated limbs, electric power drills, and mass graves were some of the most gruesome statements from the recent testimony by a few survivors who made it out of Syria.
It wasn’t just physical torture and frequent hitting but mere neglect was close to death. The packed cells have narrow turbines to let some amount of ventilation but a power cut would stop any medium for ventilation. The inmates were left unattended when crippled with fever and fatigue leading to deteriorating health or even death in many cases.
Source – Al Arbiya
Many activists who were imprisoned were made to sign lots of blank papers that were then later filled up with false accusations and offenses that were then presented in the court.
As many as 13000 people have been executed in the Saydnaya Prison itself since 2011, with more in number through physical abuse, mental torture, starvation, and medical illness. As per the reports from the Syrian Network for Human Rights, over 128000 have never been found with speculations of either being dead or still in custody.
With more than a decade-long Syrian conflict, the Syrian prison conditions that came to light in the ’80s again started emerging in 2020, portraying the futility of the policies and changes brought in by both national and international authorities and mass torture was inflicted upon the inmates.
Source – Relief web
The aloofness of the place and the prisons has made it almost impossible to get any access to humanitarian aid. Medical facilities, transport, and food cannot be provided due to the mounting insecurity and risk to the volunteers. The people who are found aiding or providing medical supplies are tortured and sentenced to capital punishment.
The Holocaust, one of history’s darkest disasters, exposed the worst aspects of authoritarianism and its limits. The same dictatorship is in place in Syria, with a grip on political prisoners and everyone who calls for democracy, and brutalizing the population for no other reason than to put down any rebellion, regardless of the horrible measures used.
The UN-led talks haven’t borne any fruits in this decade-long battle. With constant diplomacy, the rivalry between the neighbouring countries, and the international sanctions have made the livelihood miserable for the civilians.
Written by- Ashima Bajaj
Edited by- Isha Mehrotra