The United Nations on Thursday urged the Syrian government to release detainees held without charge or due process, pointing to systematic torture and hard conditions the detainees are subjected to in their detention.
“Estimates of the number of people in Syria who have been held at some point or other in government and intelligence detention facilities since the first protests began in Daraa in March 2011 range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands,” the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said in his statement.
“In many cases, people are held incommunicado for weeks or months, in particular by Political Security, State Security, Military Security and Air Force Intelligence branches. This is particularly worrying given the Syrian government’s record of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, which has been well-documented prior to, and during, the conflict,” Zeid added.
Al Hussein noted that besides incursions and security raids, government forces and loyal militias detain citizens at government facilities for administrative reasons, like registering a birth or accessing social services.