New “show” by regime | Only a few hundreds out of over 152,000 of detainees released under Al-Assad’s “pardon”
SOHR demands immediate and unconditional release of all detainees
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Freedom is a fundamental right according to term No. 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” However, all tyrannical regimes adopt systematic plans to stifle free voices, which is manifested in arresting everyone opposing their policies, criticising their failure to run their states, demanding improvement the living conditions or calling for freedom in their homeland. Accordingly, dictatorial regimes do nothing to hush and eliminate opponents but arresting them.
Syrian people have suffered from detention and enforced disappearances the most by the ruling authorities and armed groups, where thousands of Syrians are detained in prisons and detention centres, while others have been forcibly disappeared and their fate remains unknown.
We, at the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), confirm that the use of violence has never been a suitable solution for settling disputes, and we have been all along expressing our belief that dialogues and negotiations among the warring powers are the only way to a peaceful settlement. This belief is based on our concern about defending human rights and dignity of Syrians and our commitment to all international conventions.
As SOHR has been tracking all developments following the latest pardon issued by the Syrian regime president a week ago, latest statistics confirm that the number of released detainees has not exceeded 800. According to this pardon, 30,000 detainees were supposed to be released before the end of May. According to the latest SOHR statistics, 969,854 people, including 155,002 women, have been arrested by regime security services since the beginning of the “Syrian Revolution” in March 2011. It is worth noting that 152,713 people, including 41,312 women, remain in regime prisons.
Reliable sources have informed the Syrian Observatory that the number of people killed, executed and/or died in regime prisons exceeded 105,000 people. Over 83% of the total death toll were killed and/or died in these prisons between May 2013 and October 2015, the period when the Iranians were supervising regime’s prisons.
Among the total number of torture victims, SOHR was able to document 49,364 people by names: 48,958 men and young men, 339 children under the age of eighteen, and 67 women over the age of eighteen.
Although Al-Assad’s pardon has revived the hopes of thousands of Syrian families whose sons and daughters have been forcibly disappeared in regime prisons, who optimistically thought that they would finally meet with their beloved children, the number of detainees who have been released so far is shockingly small.
If they are not released under this “general amnesty,” then when tens of thousands of detainees can enjoy freedom?! Will there any honourable stances to defend the rights of these victims who are suffering horrors in the regime’s basements?!
The shameful indifference and inaction by the international community to solve the issue of the detainees in Syria have contributed to exacerbating their sufferings.
As a human rights organisation, we demand:
- Release of all detainees immediately, unconditionally and with no exceptions.
- Disclose the fate of the forcibly disappeared and their whereabouts in the case that they are still alive.
- Hold accountable all criminals and all those who aided and abetted crimes against humanity.
- Allow human rights organisations to visit detention centres and prisons be aware of and reveal the tragic situation.
- All conflicting powers and all international and regional actors concerned with the Syrian crisis comply with the path of transitional justice with aim of rehabilitating everyone who have been arbitrarily detained and tortured.
- Secure a legal environment to try war criminals under supervision by the United Nations.
- Impose the political settlement on all players to bring the conflict to an end and provide a suitable environment for fair trials.
- Ensure transparency and accountability under the power and rule of law.