Assad Regime Using Sexual Violence to Humiliate Detainees
A new report by the rights group Lawyers and Doctors for Human Rights (LDHR) highlighted the plight of men and boys in Syria who have experienced sexual violence in the prisons of the Assad regime.
Based on findings from over 135 medical reports and 15 individual case studies, the LDHR finds that 87 percent of men in Syria’s jails have reported some form of sexual violence – nearly half of those affected had experienced more than one form of assault.
The use of widespread sexual violence aims to humiliate and silence male prisoners, the report said.
Narrating incidents of rape, forced sterilization, forced nudity, genital violence as well as other equally grave forms of torture, the rights group notes that such endemic persecution constitutes a crime against humanity.
Out of 138 men interviewed by the LDHR, more than 40 percent reported some form of sexual assault. That figure rose to almost 90 percent when describing instances of forced nudity ordered by their prison guards.
In interviews with The Washington Post, dozens of men formerly held in Assad regime prisons, particularly in Damascus, have described how they were ordered to strip before being severely beaten, or how they spent days lying naked alongside other prisoners in packed and squalid cells.
Psychologists in the Turkish city of Gaziantep have recorded cases of suicide that they believe to be linked to sexual abuse experienced in Assad regime’s custody.
Eight years after the start of Syria’s uprising, more than 100,000 detainees remain unaccounted for, most of them in Assad regime custody. According to the United Nations and human rights groups, torture and abuse are systematic, and thousands, if not tens of thousands, of those detainees are probably dead.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the importance of holding the Assad regime accountable for the war crimes taking place in Syria. It pointed out that the torture in the prisons of the Assad regime is rampant, citing tens of thousands of documents that indict the regime.
The Coalition said that the brutal practices in the prisons of the Assad regime should not be condoned. He called on the international community to take urgent action to save the lives of those who are still in Assad's prisons and to disclose the fate of tens of thousands of detainees. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + Agencies)