SOHR warns against disclaiming responsibility for killing detainees under torture through a new law criminalising torture • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR warns against disclaiming responsibility for killing detainees under torture through a new law criminalising torture

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has warned against the repercussions of the Syrian regime’s attempt to polish its image in front of public opinion by passing a law criminalising torture, where Al-Assad regime, through such procedures, is trying to disavow any responsibility for scores of serious violations committed since 2011, especially with the pressure exerted by human rights organisations and reports issued by international actors on the issue of practicing torture and other human rights violations committed in prisons and security centres.


According to SOHR statistics, the number of people killed, executed and/or died in regime prisons since the beginning of the Syrian Revolution has exceeded 105,000 people.


We, at SOHR, see such legislative decrees as attempts to cover up brutal torture, humiliation, arbitrary arrests and indiscriminate illegal executions practiced by the Syrian regime against Syrian citizens for decades for believing in or supporting political opinions opposing the regime’s policy. These “terrorist” practices have been more akin to those committed against the Syrians by opposition rebel organisations and terrorist groups.


SOHR stresses that this law remains “incomplete,” unless all criminals, perpetrators of violations and all those who aided and abetted heinous crimes against Syrian people are held accountable.


SOHR also would like to point out to the state of ambiguity regarding the case of compensations, as it is not clear so far whether compensations will be offered to the victims’ families or not, in the case that a victim dies.


We renew our appeal to the international community to intensify its efforts to put an end to all violations practiced against Syrian people, which some actors are trying to cover up and disclaiming their responsibilities or involvement .


We also emphasise the need for allowing access of relevant organisations to prisons and security centres to check the conditions of detainees on the ground and disclose all violations, which could potentially stop the brutal torture which affected all segments of the Syrian society and claimed the lives of thousands.


We reaffirm our confidence in the ability of the United Nations to take an effective action to allow local and international observers to visit prisons and security centres, so that they can alleviate Syrian families’ worry about the fate of their sons and daughters.


We also call for referring all criminals and warlords to international courts to ensure fair trials.


The Syrian regime’s president, Bashar Al-Assad, had passed a law criminalising torture, after being discussed by the People’s Assembly on March 28.


Here are highlights of the most important parts of the statement issued by the Syrian presidency on March 30:


“President Bashar al-Assad issued law No. 16 for 2022 criminalising torture in accordance with the state’s constitutional commitments which forbid torture and with the terms of the UN Convention against Torture signed by the Arab Republic of Syria.


According to the new law, punishments are defined according to the seriousness of each crime, which reach death penalty where the torture results in death or involves rape.


The law assigns a penalty of life imprisonment if torture is practiced against a child, a person with a disability, or resulted in a permanent disability.


A penalty of at least eight-year imprisonment against anyone who commits, participates in, or abets  torture, whether to obtain a confession or to achieve personal, material, or political ends, or with the intent of revenge or retaliation.


While anyone committing torture against an employee because of the performance of his duties shall be sentenced to at least ten years in prison.”


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