Thousands hanged in Syria’s ‘slaughterhouse’
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.