In Brief

Syria regime accused of brutal torture methods

Report reveals harrowing details of killing and mistreatment of prisoners

The Syrian regime inflicts at least 72 types of torture on prisoners in its detention centres, a report has claimed.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) estimates that the methods have resulted in the deaths of 185 people this year, and more than 14,000 over the course of the country’s civil war.

“No month in all the years since 2011 has passed without us documenting dozens of deaths due to torture in the Syrian regime’s centres, which is still continuing to the current date,” its report said.

The forms of torture documented in the report are shocking: crucifixion, eye-gouging, rape, scalding with boiling water and slicing off body parts. Some prisoners were handed to junior doctors for surgical training, says The Guardian.

Others - severely physically and mentally ill from mistreatment - were put in cells with healthier captives. Some survivors told the SNHR that sharing cells with hallucinating and hysterically crying prisoners was “worse than the physical torture inflicted on them by the Syrian regime”.

The SNHR discovered the extensive torture methods by interviewing survivors and witnesses. It also examined more than 6,000 pictures of murdered Syrians exposed by a former regime photographer known as “Caesar”, who smuggled the photos out of the country on flash drives hidden in his shoes.

The images and interviews gave only a partial insight into the true number of torture methods used by the regime, which the SNHR said was - like the death toll - “likely to be far higher”.

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Witness accounts in the report go into horrific detail of how prisoners have been treated. One account claims that prison officers used a grenade to smash the teeth of a detained 15-year-old boy. They then “sprayed insecticide all over [the boy’s] body, set him on fire then wrapped his body with gauze, and from time to time they peeled the gauze [and] lifted his skin with a blade”.

Electricity was used as a torture method, with prison officers using an electric baton on the detainee’s stomach or genitals, reports the Daily Mail.

The Syrian government has always denied allegations that it systematically tortures prisoners.

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