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Sednaya Detainees Association releases guide to avoid extortion

The ٍAssociation of Detainees and the Missing in Sednaya Prison Prison has issued a guide to avoid fraud and financial extortion for the detainees families.

The association provided Zaman al-Wasl with the guide that includes a presentation of the most prominent methods and means used by fraud and extortion gangs, security men, and some lawyers and mediators to extort financially the families of detainees and forcibly disappeared in exchange for providing or forging information and documents about their children and loved ones who are detained or forcibly disappeared.

The guide also contains some ideas and tips that can help families and workers on the issue of arrest and enforced disappearance in detecting and alerting to fraud and forgery.

Families of detainees in Syrian prisons are routinely forced to bribe officials to be allowed to visit them or to win their release, according to a report that reveals the vast scale of extortion in the detention system.
The sums involved – rising as high as £2m in one jail -- are likely to be helping senior members of the Assad regime avoid sanctions, a survey of more than 1,200 former prisoners and family members suggests, according to Guardian.

The guide quotes Diab Serrih, the report’s author and ADMSP co-founder as saying: “The frauds succeed, because they look like the completely real thing, and they come suddenly, and at times that the family does not expect, and after losing hope of accessing information or news about the detainee or the missing, and they often include a very tempting offer, such as releasing the detainee, transferring him to a civilian prison, securing visits for him in his place of detention, or retrying him. Through this guide, we try to help families and workers in the file of detention and enforced disappearance in Syria by avoiding becoming victims of fraud and financial extortion.

According to estimates by humanitarian watchdogs, between 100,000 and 250,000 people were arrested or forcibly disappeared, beginning before the uprising against Bashar al-Assad in 2011. That number had sharply escalated by the end of 2012.

The association stated that the guide comes after years of work and documentation with the families of the forcibly disappeared, detainees, and survivors of detention and torture in various Syrian detention centers, in "Sednaya" prison, and some armed factions.

The guide is the result of hearing and documenting hundreds of events, reviewing many documents (which were mostly forged), and conversations that took place between families and between fraudsters and security men during or after the fraud operations.

The guide is divided into four sections, designed in a simplified and clear way to help parents learn about the most common methods of fraud and financial extortion, and some tips to avoid and pay attention to them. prudently while they are being scammed.

The Association includes prison survivors and victims' families who seek to uncover the truth and achieve justice for detainees because of their political opinion or activism.

It works to uncover the fate of the missing and forcibly disappeared in Syria in general and in Sednaya prison. The Association provides advice and support to families of missing and detained persons. In addition to its work in documentation and evidence-gathering, the Association, through the Family Center Project, provides rehabilitation services that focus on the mental health of survivors of torture, war, violence, or any human rights violation.

The work of the Association promotes recognition of the harm suffered by detainees, the search for truth, accountability, determining the fate of the missing, and compensation for victims and survivors of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. 
Tens of thousands of people are believed to have been tortured or killed in Syrian jails since the Arab spring began. Sednaya prison, a military facility on the outskirts of Damascus, has long been considered one of the most formidable institutions in Syria.

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