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
The Pakistan Foreign Office has accused India of attempting to build new bunkers along its eastern border in violation of bilateral agreements.
Ed Miliband promised to crack down on immigration if his party is elected next year, seeking to woo voters tempted by the anti-EU UK Independence Party
A total of 15 strikes were staged against ISIL in Iraq and Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a statement from Central Command.
Organization with alleged links to Muslim Brotherhood could face restrictions in government crackdown
"I'm in Belgrade for the first time in 25 years," Hoxhaj told reporters, "It shows how difficult the journey was to come to Belgrade, (just) a four-hour drive up the road."
The Irish parliament embarks on recognizing Palestinian State, following the announcement of the British and Swedish parliaments.
Our southern neighbors use every excuse to suspend peace talks, and leave the negotiation table, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu says
Turkey should allow the passage of peshmerga forces and weapons from northern Iraq to help Kurds in Kobani to push ISIL back, Iraqi Kurdish politician says
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said Germany would also "most likely" provide military training to the Kurdish militant groups.
Trade and Industry Minister Yoichi Miyazawa, appointed Tuesday, faces scandal over bar payment
Broadcasters and advertisers among group arrested in nationwide operation
Albayrak aims to build four new berths and repair others, bringing the number of working berths to 10.
Event participants in Addis Ababa are expected to discuss various topics related to federalism, including fiscal federalism
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades was rushed to hospital after pro-longed nose bleed on Thursday but was later released.
A Tunisian policeman was killed on Thursday when security forces clashed with militants on the outskirts of Tunis
Japan's defence ministry has said an X-Band radar system was delivered on Tuesday to the U.S. military's communication facility in Kyoto in the western part of the country