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Al-Qamishli: Demonstration participants severely tortured

KURDWATCH, August 10, 2011—On August 9, 2011, the Criminal Court in al‑Qamishli ruled that ʿAdil ʿIyzzuddin Khalaf, Usamah Sulayman Mansur al‑Hilali, and Shaykh ʿAbdussamad Muhammad ʿAli ʿUmar (b. 1962, married, six children) will be released from custody. Charges have been raised against the men, who took part in dissident demonstrations, for participating in riots, insulting the president, and resisting state authority.
Khalaf, al‑Hilali, and ʿUmar were arrested on August 2, 2011 in al‑Qamishli. At the police station there, they were tortured along with other detainees. The bisat‑al‑rih method was used, in which the hands and feet are bound with ropes and pulled in four different directions, while the person in question is beaten all over his body. The detainees’ eyes were bound and noses were plugged; a sandal was shoved into one person’s mouth. Although they were fasting, the detainees were forced to drink water, and torturers urinated in the mouths of several detainees. During the torture, which broke one of Usamah Sulayman Mansur al‑Hilali’s toes, the detainees had to chant »With our souls and our blood we sacrifice ourselves for you, oh Bashar«. Khalaf, al‑Hilali and ʿUmar were subsequently brought blindfolded to the basement, where security forces punched and kicked them. As one detainee described the situation to KurdWatch, »They treated us as if we were balls.«
The same day, the three detainees were transferred to the police in al‑Hasakah. There they were again blindfolded, kicked, and beaten all over their bodies—sometimes with billy clubs. When they fell to the ground, they were pulled upright by their hair. Subsequently they were forced to kneel on the floor until their interrogations began. When the weakened detainees attempted to sit down, they were beaten and ordered to kneel again.
In the days that followed, interrogations took place twice daily. During interrogations, the detainees were regularly slapped. They spent the rest of the time handcuffed in a windowless room of roughly 1.80 meters by 1.20 meters in the basement of the police station. On August 8, 2011, Khalaf, al‑Hilali, and ʿUmar were returned to al‑Qamishli. KurdWatch currently knows of six additional demonstrators detained in al‑Qamishli. The individuals in question are Muhammad Hijab Busri, Sipan Husayn Usi, Khalid ʿAbdulhamid Asʿad, Alan Fahd Husayn, Adham Sulayman ʿAbdullah, and Muhammad Sarbast Muhammad. They are also said to have been severely tortured. Adham Sulayman ʿAbdullah and Muhammad Sarbast Muhammad were released from custody on August 9, 2011 by the investigating judge in al‑Qamishli. The other four men remain in custody. Charges have been raised against all six for participating in riots, insulting the president, and resisting state authority.
Until now there were no known instances of torture against detained demonstration participants in the Kurdish regions. The cases described above suggest that the Syrian government has changed its stance. Like detainees in other regions, detainees in the Kurdish regions are now subject to severe torture.

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