In pictures: Syria accused of torture
- 21 January 2014
- From the section In Pictures
Graphic images from a report by ex-war-crimes prosecutors which says there is evidence that Syria has tortured and executed 11,000 detainees since the uprising began.
A report by ex-war-crimes prosecutors says there is evidence that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad has tortured and executed 11,000 detainees since the uprising began.
The report says the images were all taken by one police crime scene photographer who, after the uprising began in 2011, was employed to document bodies so death certificates could be produced and, he said, as proof execution orders had been carried out. His evidence was found to be "compelling" by three expert war crime prosecutors who interviewed him.
Most of the bodies are men aged 20-40. Many show signs of starvation, as well as "convincing" evidence of torture: burns, bruising, lesions, and indications of death by strangulation or electrocution. Each body was photographed with a serial number, a sign, the report says, of "an organised form of killing".
The photographer, codenamed Caesar, has since defected. He said he had sometimes photographed as many as 50 bodies in a day. Relatives were told the victims had died of heart attacks or breathing problems, he said, and the bodies were buried in a rural area.
Syria's government has always denied accusations it tortures its opponents. The government is due to attend peace talks in Switzerland this week, but insists it will not be handing over power.