A Human Rights Watch report issued on July 3, 2012, documents cases of torture used in Syrian detention centers since March 2011. The cases were ascertained through face-to-face interviews with the former detainees.
According to the report, a man named Fawzi was “detained for the second time on August 6 and spent about 70 days in detention, including about 40 days in Branch 291” in Damascus. He told HRW he was tortured and that detention officers threatened to rape his family members:
“After the first week they took me for questioning,” he said. “They read to me what they said I had confessed to while in the Military Intelligence branch in Aleppo. But the information was completely different [from what I told the interrogators there]. It said that I had confessed to carrying weapons, that I was part of gangs, that we communicated with other gangs and so on. I denied everything for three hours. Then they placed me facing a wall with my hands cuffed behind my back for seven or eight hours.
“The next day the interrogation continued. They started threatening me and my family. They said that if I don’t confess they would bring in my mother and siblings and rape and abuse them. He was going through my phone, asking about names.
“They beat me with batons and electric cables before they again made me stand for three, four hours before they brought me back to the cell. The same routine took place three, four days in a row.
“We could hear people from other cells being tortured, including women who were screaming when they slapped them.
“Some people were held standing against the wall deprived of sleep for up to seven days. They would just lose it and started confessing to everything without even being asked.”
Other cases from the HRW report can be found by searching “HRW” on our crowdmap.
The dates of the reported assaults and torture are unknown. Because Syrian government officials currently refuse to allow access to journalists, researchers, and aid workers, Women Under Siege cannot independently verify this report of sexualized violence in Syria.