Detainees at Homs Central Prison continued the riot they staged in protest over a decision by the Assad regime to transfer a number of detainees to the infamous Sednaya Prison north of Damascus after they were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment by the so-called Terrorist Court.
The prison inmates published a statement on social media sites expressing fear of possible retaliation by regime forces who are besieging the facility and trying to storm the prison cells using live ammunition and tear gas.
Detainees called on the international community as well as humanitarian and international organizations to immediately intervene to stop attempts by regime forces to storm the prison and ensure their release before any negotiation with the Assad regime. The detainees said that the Assad regime reneged on all promises it previously made to release them, describing these promises as “sheer lies.”
Up to 550 people are currently incarcerated in Homs Central Prison, mostly prisoners of conscience who have been detained by the Assad regime since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in March 2011.
Detainees pointed out that the prison director, Brigadier General Bilal Suleiman, ordered that electricity and water supply to the facility be cut off. They said that reinforcements were brought in preparation for fresh attempts to take control of the entire prison.
International rights groups have repeatedly accused the Assad regime of committing war crimes against detainees in its prisons. Human Rights Watch spoke about brutal torture of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime. The Assad regime also built a crematorium inside Sednaya Prison to dispose of bodies of detainees who die under a systematic torture.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights in early 2017 said it had documented the full names of at least 117,000 detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime since the outbreak of the revolution in March 2011. The Network pointed out that the number exceeded 215,000.
A military photographer codename Caesar who defected from the Assad regime smuggled 55,000 images of bodies of detainees who died under torture in the Assad regime’s prisons. International investigators said that the photographs belong to 11,000 victims of torture. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)