Monday, 18 May 2015

Mazen Darwish (photo: Mazen Darwish)

Around-the-clock torture

'Most prisoners of the Assad regime are referred to as "the vanished". These are people who were arrested at checkpoints, border crossings or in house searches and whose subsequent fate is unknown, says the Syrian lawyer Z. He estimates their number at 150,000.

Conditions are particularly dire in the underground torture chambers operated by various intelligence services to which no one is given access, says the lawyer Z.

He and several colleagues have been documenting the conditions in Syria's prisons for years. "About 100 prisoners are crowded together in cells measuring four by four metres. They can neither crouch nor sit, but must in some cases remain standing for weeks. The lucky ones are able to lean their backs against the wall," says Z. The prisoners are driven to the very limits of their physical and mental endurance. Some of them break down; others end up going mad. "There are prisoners who beat their head against the wall until they're dead." '

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