Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have been forcibly disappeared in Syria’s state-run penal complexes. (File photo via social media)
Four Palestinian refugees died under torture in Syrian prisons in 2021, bringing the number of torture victims among Palestinian refugees in the war-torn country to 653, among them women and minors, a human rights group reported.
The Action Group for Palestinians of Syria (AGPS) said the victims are Majed AlMadani, Mahmoud Kadoura, Mohamed Ibrahim Kamal, and another Palestinian refugee whose name has been kept secret under security concerns. The latter’s identity documents and personal belongings were handed over to his family on March 1.
AGPS has documented the secret detention of over 1,790 Palestinian refugees, including women and minors, in Syrian government lock-ups.
AGPS estimates the real number to be far higher due to the gag orders slapped by the Syrian government on the detainees’ names and fates, along with the families’ reluctance to report such cases over retaliation concerns.
Affidavits by ex-detainees have provided evidence on the involvement of Syrian government officers in harsh torture tactics, including electric shocks, heavy beating using whips and iron sticks, and sexual abuse against Palestinian detainees, in a flagrant violation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, commonly known as the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).
AGPS urged the Syrian government to disclose the fate of scores of Palestinians held in its lock-ups, release the bodies of those tortured to death, to seriously work on halting harsh torture tactics, launch fact-finding probes into crimes of torture, and to bring those involved in such crimes before courts.