World Bulletin / News Desk
Syrian intelligence agencies are running torture centers across the country where detainees are beaten with batons and cables, burned with acid, sexually assaulted, and their fingernails torn out, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Tuesday.
The New York-based rights group identified 27 detention centers that it says intelligence agencies have been using since President Bashar al-Assad's government began a crackdown in March 2011 on pro-democracy protesters trying to oust him.
Human Rights Watch conducted more than 200 interviews with people who said they were tortured, including a 31-year-old man who was detained in the Idlib area in June and made to undress.
"Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They put staples in my fingers, chest and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The staples in the ears were the most painful," the man told Human Rights Watch.
"They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again. They tortured me like this three times over three days," he said.
The report found that tens of thousands of people had been detained by the Department of Military Intelligence, the Political Security Directorate, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate.
Human Rights Watch documented more than 20 torture methods that "clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity."
The group called for the U.N. Security Council to refer the issue of Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials carrying out abuse.
"The reach and inhumanity of this network of torture centers are truly horrific," Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch said. "Russia should not be holding its protective hand over the people who are responsible for this."
U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay on Monday reiterated her position that the issue of Syria's conflict should be referred to the ICC in The Hague because crimes against humanity and other war crimes may have been committed.
She said both sides appear to have committed war crimes.
The United Nations has said more than 10,000 people have been killed during the 16-month Syria conflict.
The complete Human Rights Watch report, which includes maps of the detention centers, can be seen here: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/07/03/torture-archipelago-0
Four troops were killed after the roof of a security checkpoint in Peshawar collapsed
Increasing military budget would be wrong answer to current crises, says main opposition Left Party.
Jens Stoltenberg condemns assassination of the Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and calls for independent probe
Paris facing challenges in seeking to cut its deficit without raising taxes, economists tell Anadolu Agency.
Algerian lawmakers expressed opposition to shale gas bill while protestors clashed with police leaving 40 policeman injured
Scientists have established that deforestation cause monsoon rains to drift south cutting rainfall in India significantly.
U.S. diplomats in Caracas could not give any information about the pilot, or say whether Maduro was referring to any Americans other than the missionaries.
Netanyahu has called his mission to the USA one of historic importance, and fears for Israel.
War court judge orders the overseer of the Guantanamo cases to be replaced after he exercised "unlawful influence"
Progress of offensive could impact Mosul campaign timing with army, militias advance on Tikrit from south and east. The Prime Minister has said that says civilians, homes to be protected
Spokesperson for the Revolutionary Forces in Aleppo accused UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura of working in the interests of the Assad regime.
Britain may force sale of licenses to third party with deal valued at RWE DEA at 5.1 bln euros and British assets worth about 1 billion euros
Dispute over Afghan refugees in Pakistan has caused a rift between two neighbors that have recently shown signs of warmness in their usually cold and tense ties.
The Lebanese army said an Israeli gunboat violated Lebanese coastal waters.