Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Two detainees confirmed dead as UN says Assad must account for detainees died in custody

DETAINEES | 2018-11-28 10:27:00
Two detainees confirmed dead as UN says Assad must account for detainees died in custody
   Laila Shwaikani(R), Faten Rajab (L)
(Zaman Al Wasl)- Two prominent female activists who were detained by the Air Force intelligence in 2011 have been confirmed dead, according to the Civil Registry department in the town of Douma, northeast of Damascus.

Faten Rajab, Physics Scientist, was arrested in 2011 for he participation in the peaceful demonstration. Her last ‘alive’ news was in 2014. 

Also, Engineer Laila Shwaikani, with dual nationality Syrian and American, was confirmed dead after death rumors in 2016, activists said. 
U.N. war crimes investigators called on the Syria regime Wednesday to tell families what happened to their relatives who disappeared and provide the medical records and remains of those who died or were executed in custody, Reuters reported.

No progress can be made towards a lasting peace to end the nearly eight-year-old war without justice, the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said.

After years of regime silence, the regime authorities this year released "thousands or tens of thousands" of names of detainees alleged to have died, mostly between 2011 and 2014, it said in a report released before delivery to the U.N. Security Council.

"Most custodial deaths are thought to have occurred in places of detention run by Syrian intelligence or military agencies. The Commission has not documented any instance, however, where bodies or personal belongings of the deceased were returned," it said.

In nearly every case, death certificates for prisoners that were provided to families recorded the cause of death as a "heart attack" or "stroke", the independent panel led by Paulo Pinheiro said.

"Some individuals from the same geographic area share common death dates, possibly indicating group executions," it said.

In most cases, the place of death was stated as Tishreen military hospital or Mujtahid hospital, both near Damascus, but the place of detention was not named, it said.

"Pro-government forces and primarily the Syrian state should reveal publicly the fates of those detained, disappeared and/or missing without delay," the report said, noting this meant Syrian government forces, Russian forces and affiliated militia.

Families had the right to know the truth about their loved one's deaths and be able to retrieve their remains, it said.

In a 2016 report, the panel found that the scale of deaths in prisons indicated that the government of President Bashar Assad was responsible for "extermination as a crime against humanity".

In Syria, a family member must register a death within a month after receiving a death notification, the report said. Failure to do so results in a fine which grows after a year.

But given that there are millions of Syrian refugees abroad and internally displaced, many are not in a position to meet deadlines, it said.

The lack of an official death certificate may affect the housing, land and property rights of relatives, it said, noting that female-headed households may face further challenges to secure inheritance rights.

The International Amnesty has previously said that more than 17,700 people were estimated to have died in regime custody across Syria since the country's conflict erupted in 2011.

The human rights’ activist pointed the difficulty of pursuing justice by the victims’ families in Syria, He warned, then, the families about the necessity of reaching to the regional or the international courts. He said: "Families should reach to the Syrian and the international humanitarian organizations, in order to document their cases of death, hence to issue legal complaints to the international courts.

In mid 2013, a team of war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts, had analyzed 55 thousand digital photos taken and provided by a Syrian defector codenamed "Caesar," who, along with his family, is now living outside Syria in an undisclosed location, according to CNN.  

 The 8000-detainee list is not related to Caesar's photos.

The team members shared their findings in a joint exclusive with CNN's "Amanpour" and The Guardian newspaper on January 20, 2014.  

Mohamed Nour Hmaidi, head of the Syrian Justice Gathering and the former head of Public Prosecution in Idlib province, said the regime is seeking to conceal its crimes backed by Iran and Russia as Assad thinks the war is over.

The death certificates were part of the post-war plans, Hamaidi said as about 600,000 Syrian are believed to be behind the bars.

Since the Syrian revolution erupted in 2011, more than 470,000 people have been killed, and more than 6 million people have been displaced.

Zaman Al Wasl
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