Thousands of people have been hanged at a Syrian prison in a secret crackdown on dissent by the regime of Bashar al-Assad, a report by Amnesty International has alleged.
The human rights group says up to 13,000 people have been executed at Saydnaya prison north of the capital Damascus in a “hidden” campaign authorized by senior regime figures.
Amnesty’s report, Human slaughterhouse, says prisoners are moved in the middle of the night from their cells under the pretext of being transferred. They are taken to the grounds of the prison, where they are hanged, likely unaware of their fate until they feel the noose around their neck, Amnesty alleges. The report is based on result of a year-long investigation, including interviews with 84 witnesses including security guards, detainees, judges and lawyers, Amnesty says. Most of those hanged were civilians “believed to be opposed to the government,” the report found.
“The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign, authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government, aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population,” Lynn Maalouf, the deputy director for research at Amnesty’s Beirut office, said in a statement announcing the report.