Syria’s civil war: On Syria’s forgotten detainees

Al Jazeera reports: In early May, hundreds of detainees at Syria’s Hama central prison went into a week-long revolt to protest against the planned transfer of five inmates to the notorious Sednaya prison near Damascus, purportedly so that they could be executed.

The prisoners, many of whom are held without charge, rioted in solidarity.

Seven prison guards were taken hostage. Prisoners demanded “basic rights,” including a fair trial or release.

A deal, however, was soon reached resulting in the release of 83 prisoners held without charge.

Two weeks later, a similar scene played out again when inmates captured a high-ranking police officer to protest at what they say was the government’s reneging on an earlier deal to release several hundred political detainees.

Inmates have previously demanded the restoration of electricity and water amid food shortages and serious medical conditions among prisoners, according to to UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Both incidents highlighted the plight of thousands of detainees who are languishing in government prisons in appalling conditions. Both rights groups and opposition negotiators had hoped the first Hama standoff would push Syria’s forgotten detainees back to the forefront of the Syria peace talks. [Continue reading…]

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