HRW’s report documents ‘crimes against humanity’ in Assad’s Syria


hrw  syria report crimes against humanityNine months of research by Human Rights Watch has revealed some of the human stories behind the tens of thousands of photos of those who died in government custody that were smuggled out of Syria, the rights group said Wednesday.

In its 86-page report, “If the Dead Could Speak: Mass Deaths and Torture in Syria’s Detention Facilities”, Human Rights Watch (HRW) lays out new evidence of the authenticity of what are known as the Caesar photographs, some 28,000 photos smuggled out of Syria by a military defector codenamed Caesar that first came to public attention in January 2014.

The rights group said it had located and interviewed 33 relatives or friends of 27 victims whose cases its researchers had verified as well as 37 former detainees who saw people die in detention and four defectors, who either worked in a Syrian government detention centre or at the military hospitals where most of the photographs were taken.

“Just about every detainee in these photographs was someone’s beloved child, husband, father or friend, and his friends and family spent months or years searching for him,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement on the group’s website. “We have meticulously verified dozens of stories, and we are confident the Caesar photographs present authentic – and damning – evidence of crimes against humanity in Syria.”

The pictures appeared to show the bodies of some 6,000 Syrian detainees – often bearing marks of torture or starvation – who allegedly died in detention or after being transferred to military hospitals.

Caesar photograph of  starved, men in  Yarmouk Refugee camp Syria,
Caesar photograph of starved, men in Yarmouk Refugee camp Syria,

The watchdog said one of the victims, 14-year-old Ahmad al-Musalmani, died in government custody after being held for having an anti-regime song on his mobile phone in 2012.

Ahmad’s uncle, Dahi al-Musalmani, spent years trying to find his nephew as well as more than $14,000 in bribes to secure his release.

Dahi finally identified his nephew in Caesar’s photos.

“I went directly to the folder of the Air Force Intelligence, and I found him,” he told HRW, breaking down while talking.

“It was a shock. Oh, it was the shock of my life to see him here. I looked for him, 950 days I looked for him. I counted each day. When his mother was dying, she told me: ‘I leave him under your protection.’ What protection could I give?”

HRW called on the countries holding peace talks on the Syrian war to prioritise the release of the thousands of detainees who remain in government custody. Diplomats from the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey met in Parison Monday to seek a solution to the crisis.

Human Rights Watch said that Russia and Iran – as the top backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – have a “particular responsibility” to argue for international monitors to have immediate access to detention centres in Syria.

“The government registered these deaths, processing dozens of bodies at a time, while taking no action to investigate the cause of death or to prevent yet more people in their custody from dying,” Houry said.

“Those pushing for peace in Syria should ensure that these crimes stop and that the people who oversaw this system ultimately face accountability for their crimes.”

FRANCE 24 with AFP



14 responses to “HRW’s report documents ‘crimes against humanity’ in Assad’s Syria”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    VOILA … et ENFIN.
    And the fish stinks from the head.

    Caesar is a Martur … and you can be sure someone knows who went missing with picture files … they will wish to make him a Martyr as well.

  2. Hind Abyad Avatar

    France recycling an article published two years ago on YaLibnan as if it was today news.

    Funny that the same who are financing ISIS were the “finders” of the rocambolesque 50,000 pictures.

    “The defector, who for security reasons is identified only as Caesar, was a photographer with the Syrian military police. He smuggled the images out of the country on memory sticks to a contact in the Syrian National Movement, which is supported by the Gulf state of Qatar. Qatar, which has financed and armed rebel groups, has called for the overthrow of Assad and demanded his prosecution”.

    1. 5thDrawer Avatar

      Still, he did a GOOD work.

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar

        Who’s he..we’re supposed to believe it because anti-government activists said so to a Qatari rag, the bastion of truth and honest journalism…hahah..

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          Oh Ye of little faith. I thought he also presented in Congress … back then.
          Made everyone sick. For sure the pics were not from Auchwitz … although the bodies appeared with the same effects – looked the same.
          Sometimes you need to believe something …

          1. Hind Abyad Avatar

            ~’l’~ ..

          2. Hind Abyad Avatar

            I’m not stupid.

      2. Michaelinlondon1234 Avatar

        No it is mostly lies. And they will not prosecute the USA or UK for the terrorists that started this.

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          At least some relatives know they can stop looking, or keep on waiting … a good thing.

    2. Michaelinlondon1234 Avatar

      The original collection was started by the UK foreign office offering large sums of money for pictures of dead people. So a lot of killing went on for those photos.

      1. Hind Abyad Avatar

        The Mafia has more codes of honour than these governments..

        1. Michaelinlondon1234 Avatar

          Completely agree.

        2. 5thDrawer Avatar

          But those only apply within the Mafia.
          And newspapers always pay for ‘newsy’ pictures … nice that they smudge the genitals of course. DO you believe these are dead bodies?? At least??

  3. Michaelinlondon1234 Avatar

    It is war. You have never prosecuted the USA Israel or UK for decades of slaughter around the world so you can fxck of with your lies now.

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