Bloomberg News

Syrians Using 31 Methods to Torture Detainees, Amnesty Reports

March 13, 2012

Syria is using 31 methods of torture and ill-treatment to create a “nightmarish world” for those detained during the yearlong uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Amnesty International said.

Many Syrians taken into custody by the security forces said they were beaten on arrest and then faced further abuse from sticks, rifle butts, whips and fists or braided cables when arriving at detention centers, a practice sometimes called the “haflet al-istiqbal” or “reception,” according to the London-based human rights group.

The abuse became harsher when detainees were interrogated with methods including the “tyre,” where victims are forced into a vehicle tyre, lifted up and beaten with cables or sticks, according to accounts in a 42-page report today.

The testimony “give disturbing insights into a system of detention and interrogation which, a year after protests began, appears intended primarily to degrade, humiliate and terrify its victims into silence,” Ann Harrison, Amnesty interim deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in the report.

More than 7,500 Syrians have been killed during the fighting while another 32,000 have fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, according to the United Nations. Syrian forces are sowing minefields along the country’s borders, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

Amnesty said it interviewed dozens of Syrians including 25 who said they were abused and later fled the country. Other methods of torture included electric shocks, electric prods and rape in front of other prisoners, the group said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emre Peker in Ankara at epeker2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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