SNN | #Syria:
The following report shows a condensed summary of the techniques of torture adopted in the prisons of the Syrian security forces during the last nine months of the popular uprising in Syria. It is based on written testimonies of some released detainees, who do not know each other, where the technique of torture is documented in the below summary only if three detainees agree unanimously on the fact that they were subjected to this kind of torture.
All the written testimonies of the former detainees are saved at the the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London.
The following is a summarised presentation of the first part of the techniques of torture adopted in the prisons of Syrian security forces since the beginning of the popular uprising in Syria on March 15th, 2011, which will be followed by the second and third parts in the near future:
1 – Electric Shock: where the live electric cable is put, after separating the copper small wires which comprise the element that transfers electricity within the plastic sheath of the cable, and spreading it on a distance that ranges from 5-10 cm in order to be used to stun the detainee electrically on the ears, nose, mouth, body parts, trunk, and the genitals of the detainee.
2 – Torture in the Wheel: where the detainee is put inside two large vehicles’ wheels, in a position that his backside is down, his hands are tied behind his back, and only his head and feet are on the wheels as to be beaten up on his face and feet until they bleed, and then they shift to another way of torture.
3 – Torture With Metal Chair: it is a metal chair frame that has got no seat, where the detainee is enforced to sit on it in a position in which his backside is limited to the boundaries of the seat metallic frame after it gets down near the ground so that makes all parts of his back and the back side of the legs and thighs exposed to brutal beating with the so-called quadripartite cable, which is a thick stripe used to conduct the high voltage electricity with a diameter that is more than 5 cm whose tip that is used for torture is stripped so that the small copper wires become cutting tools which tear up the skin of the detainee when he or she is beaten up with it.
4 – The Tying Up, Kicking, and Booting: where the two feet of the detainee are tied up, his hands get tied behind his back, and he is put on the ground as to be kicked and booted with the huge military boots worn by the investigators on all parts of his body, with a special focus on kicking the chest and the genitals of the detainee until they get swollen as a result of the inner bleeding and become several times bigger than their normal size. In many cases, the detainee vomits blood due to the dangerous visceral lacerations at the level of the gastrointestinal and respiratory track that occur as a result of such violent beating.
5 – Torture by the struggle with the wedged cat: it is a technique mainly used with female detainees in order to avow some information about the places where the activists are hidden. This happens by unclothing the woman of all her clothes, and enforcing her to get into a large bag of cannabis usually used to transfer compost or forage in Syria, and then letting a big cat in and wedging it with the detainee in the same bag so that the cat uses all of its claws and canine teeth in an attempt to get out of the bag in which it is wedged, the thing that causes absolute surficial and deep wounds on the whole body of the detained woman.
6 – Pincer Technique: it happens through using the pincer that builders use to root out the nails from the wooden stems used for construction, where such pincer is used first to pluck out the hair of the detainee’s head, uprooting his nails one by one, and then rooting out his teeth. This technique is mostly used with the children between 14 and 18 years old.
7 – Urinating in the detainee’s mouth: where the warder enforces the detainee to open his mouth so that the warder can urinate in it, and enforces him to swallow the urine.
8 – Burning Technique: it happens by extinguishing cigarettes smoked by the warders in the detainee’s body, in addition to using cigarette lighters to burn different parts of the detainee’s body, especially the most innervated areas like the genitalia and the breasts.
9 – Deaf Technique: it is based on the violent and repeated slapping of the detainee on the area of the ear until the eardrum is torn up and the ear of the detainee starts bleeding, and then he becomes deaf as a result of the intense bleeding that occurs in the middle ear of the detainee that has been exposed to the severe contusion.
10 – Roasted Thicken Technique: it happens through tying up the hands of the detainee behind his knees, and then inserting an iron rod, of the type used in the concrete construction, under his armpits, and then the detainee gets hung on a special holder of that technique so that the warder pushes the detainee from time to time to fluctuate and suffer from an intense pain due to the friction of the metal rod with his armpits. The detainee is left in such position for long hours that may last 20 hours a day.
11 – Ghost Technique: it means transforming the detainee into a ghost. This occurs through putting handcuffs on the detainee’s hands and hanging him to the ceiling of the investigation room, in a position where his feet do not touch the ground. He is left as such for long hours of up to 20 hours a day. This leads to the paralysis of hands due to the stretch and contusion of hands’ nerves. It causes dangerous dislocations on the joints of the hands and irreversible deformations as a result of this type of torture. It should be noted that this kind of torture is the most common, and it is used almost with all detainees without exceptions.
12 – Wind Carpet Technique: it occurs by putting the detainee on a plank in the mid of which exist joints that allow the folding of the board so that the detainee’s hands and feet get tied to the front and back of the plank, and his face on the ground of it. Then, the front side of the plank is lifted as to fold it so that the body of the detainee gets folded until the backside of his head touches the heel of his feet. This leads to a dangerous stretch in the ligaments and nerves of the spine, which results the most dreadful kind of pain a person can suffer from, the thing that causes an entire paralysis to the detainee for a period of not less than four days, and leads in many cases to the death of the detainee during this type of torture.
13 – Flask Technique: includes the enforcement of the detainee to take off his clothes from the chest down, and enforcing him to sit on a glass flask, where the upper side of the glass flask gets inserted in the detainee’s anus, and he is enforced to remain in such position until he loses conciseness as a result of the bleeding that occurs due to the tear and rupture of the tissues because of the stretch they were exposed to as a result of the wedging of the flask in the anus of the detainee.
It should be noted that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has been able to document 204 cases of death under torture of the detainees. This documentation includes all obtained details by direct testimonies from the victims’ families and the doctors who wrote the death certificates of the detainees or had examined them before their burial.
In the following table, there is a condensed summary of the information available at the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights concerning the detainees who died under torture in Syria since the uprising erupted on the 15th of March 2011 , among them were eight children and a woman. To have a look at the table in Excel format, please click on the link below:
As for the geographical distribution of the number of detainees died under torture, they were as follows:
– Homs province 112
– Damascus and Damascus countryside provinces 22
– Idlib province 19
– Hama province 12
– Dir Zour province 5
– Aleppo province 3
– Latakia province 4
– Daraa province 27
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights asserts that all documented written testimonies of those who were exposed to torture in the Syrian security branches by using the above techniques of torture doubtlessly affirms that the violations of human rights taking place in Syria actually amount to be considered as crimes against humanity that should be referred to the International Criminal Court without any hesitation or delay that may raise scepticism about commitment of the international community to refer everyone who may be contributing to the crimes against humanity in Syria to the International Criminal Court as it was previously the case, and a lot faster, with the similar crimes committed by Gadhafi former regime in Libya.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
London December 5th, 2011
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