As death confirmations for detainees who died in the prisons of the Assad regime continue to pile up, the name of former basketball player Sameh Sorour has recently appeared in one of the lists.
Sorour, who once played for the Syrian national basketball team, was detained at Damascus airport on May 2012 while returning from Aleppo following a game against Al-Jalaa in the Syrian Elite Cup.
Sorour was held in several security branches in Dara’a and Damascus where he was subjected to brutal torture, according to detainees who were lucky to see light again. They said that Sorour’s shoulder was broken while his face was bearing scars of harsh beating.
The Syrian Coalition said that Sorour’s death under torture confirmed that no one in Syria is immune to the brutality of the Assad regime. It stressed that anyone who lives on Syrian territory is liable to be killed under torture in one of the Assad regime’s security branches.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) in January said that at least 253 athletes were killed by the Assad regime, either under torture or in shelling and gunfire. The victims included Jihad Qassab, former footballer in the Syria national football team and Al-Karama football club, Luai Al-Omar, footballer in Al-Karama football club, Zakaria Youssef, former footballer in the Itihad club, and Eyad Quaidir of Al-Wahda club who died under torture in Branch 215 and whose body recognized among the trove of photos smuggled by former military photographer code-named Caesar.
The Network pointed out that hundreds of Syrian athletes are still held in Assad’s prisons with nothing known about their whereabouts. They included footballers Tariq Abdulhak (Tishreen club), Amer Haj Hashem, Ahmed Al-Aaiq (Al-Karama club) and Bashir Abbas (Al-Shula club).
The Assad regime has recently begun handing over lists of names of detainees who died under torture in its prisons to civil registry departments in Syrian provinces. The lists contained the names of thousands of victims whose death was confirmed following years in detention. The Syrian Coalition stressed the need to launch an investigation under the supervision of the United Nations and hold all criminals accountable for those crimes. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)