October 19, 2017
The Assad regime forces and authorities running Homs Central Prison continue to crack down on over 500 detainees inside the facility, putting increasing pressure on detainees and deliberately provoking outrage from them. The prison administration have further escalated their tactics recently, which culminated in attempts to storm the facility on Monday (16 October). In response, detainees staged disobedience, demonstrated solidarity with one another, and reaffirmed they will remain united behind their demands. They announced they were going on a hunger strike until their demands for freedom and immediate release are met.
The Syrian Coalition stresses it stands in full solidarity with the demands of detainees in Homs Central Prison. It underscores the need to immediately stop attempts to storm the prison by regime forces or to renew the cutting off of electricity and water supply to the prison.
In addition to the Assad regime’s full responsibility for the violations taking place in Homs Central Prison and other brutal prisons and detention centers in Syria, the United Nations, the UN Security Council, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights bear great part of the responsibility as they have so far failed to take action to stop these violations.
The Coalition stresses the need for the relevant United Nations bodies to assume their responsibility to address the situation in Homs Central Prison and other prisons run by the Assad regime. It is imperative that the International Committee of the Red Cross urgently dispatch a team to the prison in order to ascertain the status of detainees and ensure their demands are met.
In this context, the Coalition recalls the report Amnesty International issued last February bringing to light only a portion of the crimes being committed by the Assad regime against detainees in Sednaya Prison. The report spoke about mass hangings and extermination of detainees inside the prison. These crimes must always be invoked when considering the cases of detainees in the prisons of the Assad regime.
The issue of detainees will always remain a top priority and will not be subject to negotiations or bargaining under any circumstances.