Survivors of Syrian regime prison recount abuse

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 22.02.2019 00:14

A former inmate who was held in Syrian regime prisons recounted the abuses she and her cellmates suffered while in detention.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Wednesday, Rana, a Syrian refugee from the western Syrian province of Homs, said she was detained in 2015 by the Syrian regime for allegedly "supporting terrorism and illegally crossing the border."

"My husband and son both died in prison," she said. "I was beaten because I refused to confess to supporting the Syrian [anti-regime] opposition," she added.

After being told, falsely, that she would soon be released, Rana was transferred at one point to the notorious "Palestine Unit" in the capital province of Damascus.

"The building was terrifying," she said. "We could smell the burning bodies."

"Inmates at the facility were raped, beaten and tortured for hours at a time," she said.

At one point, Rana said, a woman and her daughter, both of whom were being held at the facility, were burnt alive by prison wardens.

"What crimes have these people committed?" Rana asked, crying, "They must be released; please save them."

According to opposition sources, Syria's Bashar Assad regime has thrown at least 500,000 people behind bars since the conflict began in 2011.

On Wednesday, The Conscience Movement, an international nongovernmental organization (NGO), called on the global community to take urgent action to secure the release of women and children languishing in Syrian prisons during an international conference in Istanbul.

At the conference, it was stated that more than 13,500 Syrian women have been jailed since the conflict began in March 2011, while more than 7,000 women still remain in detention where they are subject to torture, rape and sexual violence.

Another victim of the regime's brutality, Majid Chorbaci, a Syrian woman who was jailed by the regime and later released in a prisoner swap, also spoke at the conference, where she recalled the abuses she suffered while in detention. "I was exposed to horrendous torture, electric shock and beatings. They threatened me with rape and removed my hijab," she said, going on to demand the "immediate release" of all women and children still exposed to "such horrendous torture."

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