Saturday, 04 April 2020 19:48

UN Calls on Assad Regime to Release Detainees amid Coronavirus Fears

The UN human rights office on Friday described as “alarming” the situation in the prisons in Syria, especially the overcrowded ones run by the Assad regime, most notably the Sednaya military prison.

The Assad regime was urged “to take urgent action -- following the example of other countries -- to release sufficient numbers” of detainees, said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Colville particularly noted the overcrowded central prisons and detention facilities run by the Assad regime’s four security branches, and military prison in Sednaya.

“Even before the onset of COVID-19, we have received a significant number of reports of deaths in the facilities run by the four security branches and in Sednaya, including as a result of torture and denial of medical care,” he said.

Colville said that vulnerable groups detained in Syria include elderly people, women and children, and many people with underlying health conditions, some of them directly as a result of the ill-treatment and neglect they have experienced while in detention.

Amnesty International earlier called on the Assad regime to release detainees in its prisons, detention centers, and military hospitals in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among detainees.

The Syrian Opposition Coalition has already called on the United Nations and international organizations to exert pressure on the Assad regime to force it allow access to detention centers in order to ascertain the procedures taken to prevent the spread of the virus among detainees and provide the necessary medical care. (Source: SOC’s Media Department + Agencies)

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