Thou­sands hanged in Syria’s ‘slaugh­ter­house’

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

The Syr­ian prison was known to de­tainees as “the slaugh­ter­house.” Be­hind its closed doors, the mil­i­tary po­lice hanged as many of 13,000 peo­ple over the course of four years be­fore cart­ing out their bod­ies by the truck­load for burial in mass graves, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port is­sued by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional.

The re­port, is­sued on Tues­day, said that 20-50 peo­ple were hanged each week, some­times twice a week, at the Sayd­naya prison in what the or­ga­ni­za­tion called a “cal­cu­lated cam­paign of ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tion.”

The re­port cov­ers the pe­riod from the start of the March 2011 up­ris­ing to De­cem­ber 2015, when Amnesty says between 5,000 and 13,000 peo­ple were hanged.

Lynn Maalouf, deputy di­rec­tor for re­search at Amnesty’s re­gional of­fice in Beirut, said there is no rea­son to be­lieve the prac­tice has stopped since then, with thou­sands more prob­a­bly killed.

Amnesty said the killings were au­tho­rized by se­nior Syr­ian of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing deputies of Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad.

“The hor­rors de­picted in this re­port re­veal a hid­den, mon­strous cam­paign, au­tho­rized at the high­est lev­els of the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment, aimed at crush­ing any form of dis­sent within the Syr­ian pop­u­la­tion,” Maalouf said.

“These ex­e­cu­tions take place af­ter a sham trial that lasts over a minute or two min­utes, but they are au­tho­rized by the high­est lev­els of au­thor­ity,” in­clud­ing the Grand Mufti, a top re­li­gious au­thor­ity in Syria, and the de­fence min­is­ter.

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