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Report: Syria tortures dissidents in 'archipelago' of prisons

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Courtesy of Kafarsouseh Revolt/AP

(Read caption) This citizen journalism image provided by Kafarsouseh Revolt, taken on Sunday, July 1, purports to show Syrians chanting slogans during a demonstration in Kafar Souseh, Damascus, Syria.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.

The Syrian government has created an “archipelago” of 27 torture facilities throughout its country, according to a report released today by Human Rights Watch. Relying on interviews with more than 200 former detainees, the report offers the most comprehensive view to date of torture and abuse committed by the embattled regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Thousands of people are believed to have been tortured by the government since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, but the report is the first to offer a detailed view of the problem.

“The systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture that Human Rights Watch documented clearly point to a state policy of torture and ill-treatment and therefore constitute a crime against humanity,” wrote the report’s authors.

The 81-page report recorded more than 20 distinct methods of torture, including beatings, often with batons; electrocution; detainees being forced to hold stress positions for extended periods of time; and mock executions. By publishing the details of these findings, the report’s authors say that they hope those behind them will now realize that they “will have to answer for these horrific crimes,” reports the Guardian.

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