Sednaya Prison (Arabic: سجن صيدنايا) is a military prison near Damascus in Syria. The prison has been used to hold thousands political prisoners, among them members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.
After protests by detainees in July 2008, hundreds of detainees were injured and dozens of Islamist prisoners were killed.
After months of anti-Government protests in 2011, many Islamist prisoners were released in several amnesties. Zahran Alloush, Abu Shadi Aboud (brother of Hassan Aboud) and Ahmed Abu Issa were some of the more prominent prisoners released from the prison. After their release many took up arms against the regime, and became leaders of Islamist rebel groups including Jaysh al-Islam, Ahrar ash-Sham and Suqour al-Sham Brigade in the Syrian Civil War.
There have repeatedly been reports on inhumane conditions for detainees in Sednaya (as well as other Syrian prisons), ranging from torture and malnutrition to spontaneous executions without fair trials.
“Seventy-five per cent of people who go into Sednaya do not come out alive. It is a field court, where most ‘judges’ are from the secret police.”— A Syrian lawyer working with prisoners in Hama
Murtaza Hussain (@MazMHussain) tweeted at 6:18 PM on Mon, Feb 06, 2017:
Completely horrifying Amnesty report on Sednaya Prison. Keep in mind when listening to scumbag Assad apologists: https://t.co/hnhp0UWeaj https://t.co/NzmWeZsB6k
Saydnaya Military Prison is where the Syrian state quietly slaughters its own people. The victims are overwhelmingly ordinary civilians who are thought to oppose the government. Since 2011, thousands of people have been extrajudicially executed in mass hangings, carried out at night and in the utmost secrecy. Many other detainees at Saydnaya Military Prison have been killed after being repeatedly tortured and systematically deprived of food, water, medicine and medical care. The bodies of those who are killed at Saydnaya are buried in mass graves. It is inconceivable that these large-scale and systematic practices have not been authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government.
Based on its investigation, Amnesty International’s assessment is that the murder, torture, enforced disappearances and extermination carried out at Saydnaya since 2011 have been perpetrated as part of an attack against the civilian population that has been widespread, as well as systematic, and carried out in furtherance of state policy. It therefore concludes that the Syrian authorities’ violations at Saydnaya amount to crimes against humanity.
, Amnesty International estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed at Saydnaya between September 2011 and December 2015. Am
Syrian government security forces have arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared and tortured detainees in their custody for decades. Between 1980 and 2000, the government of former President Hafez al-Assad was responsible for the enforced disappearance of an estimated 17,000 individuals in Syria.4 Its forces are also suspected of forcibly disappearing Lebanese, Palestinians and other Arab nationals during its military presence in Lebanon, hundreds of whom are still missing.5 A 1987 Amnesty International report documented arbitrary arrests, deaths in custody and the systematic use of 35 methods of torture carried out by the Syrian authorities. The goal of these long-standing practices is clear: to crush dissent. According to Amnesty International’s 1987 report, “Anyone who opposes the government is at risk.”
Saydnaya Military Prison is located around 30km north of Damascus. The prison is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and is operated by the Military Police. Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, detainees have been transferred to Saydnaya after being arrested and interrogated by the various Syrian intelligence agencies or security forces. According to former officials and guards at Saydnaya, as well as experts consulted by Amnesty International, women have not been detained there since 2011.22
In Saydnaya, torture is not used to force a detainee to “confess”, as it is in branches of the security forces, but instead as a method of punishment and degradation.122 The most common form of torture used at Saydnaya is regular and brutal beatings. Detainees told Amnesty International that the beatings they endured were sometimes so severe that they caused life-long damage and disability or death. A
A former guard confirmed the implementation of many of these practices and rules at Saydnaya: We don’t give them medicine, not at all. And every day, they would get very little food. Sometimes just one piece of an olive… Every day they would be beaten. We would use the tyre of a tractor – a big one. We would cut it, and made it into a tool for hitting… [The detainees] were not allowed to speak at all – they made no sound. Praying was forbidden… Door by door, the guard would go inside [the cell]. When he opened the door, all of the faces had to turn to the wall. We would ask them who needed to go to the hospital. Most of them wouldn’t ask for this, because if they did ask, we beat them…
According to “Yaman”, 162 a former doctor at Tishreen Hospital: Lots of dead bodies would come to us from Saydnaya… We had to write a medical report. We are allowed to write only two causes of death – either “the heart stopped” or “the breathing stopped”… The officer from the security forces said we could only write these two reasons… They were dying from a huge amount of torture, lack of food, lack of health care, and a lot of people died from infections. They don’t have antibiotics, so they go into shock. That is what will happen naturally when there is no medical care.1
CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) tweeted at 5:10 PM on Mon, Feb 06, 2017:
Amnesty International: Syrian authorities killed at least 13,000 in mass hangings between 2011 and 2015 at prison known as ‘slaughterhouse.’
Khaled Diab (@DiabolicalIdea) tweeted at 5:33 AM – 7 Feb 2017 :
Surpassing ISIS depravity, Assad regime hanged 13,000 prisoners & tortured to death thousands more, says @amnesty
eport, Human Slaughterhouse, details allegations of state-sanctioned abuse that are unprecedented in Syria’s civil war, a conflict that has consistently broken new ground in depravity, leaving at least 400,000 people dead and nearly half the country’s population displaced.
1000s more since 2015
Omar al-Shogre – Surviving Assad’s prison cells
Shogre was arrested at 17 in Syria’s coastal province of Tartous in November 2012, along with three of his cousins. Two of them would later die in prison. He says that he does not know why they were arrested that day; soldiers showed up at his aunt’s home with no explanation, struck Shogre in the face until he was “pouring blood”, and hauled the group off to jail.
Moved between 10 government detention centres, Shogre ended up in the notorious Sednaya prison, wedged into the craggy mountains 30km north of Damascus. He spent a year and nine months in Branch 215, a military intelligence detention centre in central Damascus known among some Syrians as the Branch of Death.
Shogre, who had taken part in anti-government protests during the 2011 revolution, says that he was forced into a false confession of forging ID cards.
the crime against humanity of extermination
In Syria’s Saydnaya prison up to 13,000 people have been secretly hanged since 2011. End this horror NOW: http://amn.st/60198pB1D
TIME (@TIME) tweeted at 6:05 AM – 10 Feb 2017 :
Syria’s Assad brushes off Amnesty report on prison executions as ‘fake news’ https://t.co/txRg3Ejits(http://twitter.com/TIME/status/830039885167939587?s=17)
assad’s victims given voice in daunting new film
10s of 1000s missing right now.. it’s a massive humanitarian crisis.. on our watch – Nicola
Sara Afshar @saraafshar and Nicola Cutcher @nicolacutcher
it’s all seen thru what affects us.. and i don’t think people want to concentrate on wht affects syrians.. which is still affecting them today – Sara
torture to get false confessions that they had weapons.. his only weapon was a camera – Sara
detention for 18 months.. a lot of torture.. saw people die in front of him – people.. youngsters tortured in front of him – Sara
a slam dunk.. but in what court.. it’s embarrassing that’s there’s no court to take it to – Stephen Rapp
why should the choice for syrians be between these two things .. bear witness to these atrocities – Sara
Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) tweeted at 5:20 AM – 20 Jun 2017 :
This Syrian who was tortured in Sednaya is now teaching compassion and gratitude in Sweden #WorldRefugeeDay https://t.co/eZvxLsV8Cfhttps://t.co/kPx9yweuVe (http://twitter.com/MiddleEastEye/status/877123886835535873?s=17)
tadmor prison.. 3.5 hours from saydnaya
Al-Jumhuriya English (@aljumhuriya_eng) tweeted at 4:19 AM – 4 Apr 2018 :
Mustafa Khalifa’s largely autobiographical, newly-translated novel The Shell, set in #Syria’s infamous #Tadmor prison, vividly captures the absurdity & ultrasadism that are the #Assad regime’s lifeblood, writes @Qunfuz1 https://t.co/dcDKQnon4G (http://twitter.com/aljumhuriya_eng/status/981476221400829952?s=17)
Liz Sly (@LizSly) tweeted at 4:15 AM – 24 Dec 2018 :
Syria’s government is emptying Sednaya prison by executing many of the tens of thousands of political prisoners detained since the 2011 uprising. Fantastic reporting by @leloveluck & @Zakaria_m_z with eyewitnesses & satellite evidence https://t.co/3aF4VqjDUa(http://twitter.com/LizSly/status/1077160760814505984?s=17)