Amnesty International issued a report by stressing that torture, flogging and summary executions are rife in secret prisons run by the extremist movement the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant . The 18-page briefing, entitled “Rule of fear: ISIL abuses in detention in northern Syria,” details conditions in seven detention facilities opened by the jihadists in the provinces of Aleppo and Raqqa.
Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa "Philip Luther" said “those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as 8 who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” said.
The report features testimony by former detainees, who describe a shocking catalogue of abuses in which they or others were flogged with rubber generator belts or cables, tortured with electric shock, or forced to adopt a painful stress position known as the “scorpion” in which a detainee’s wrists are secured together over one shoulder.
Detainees in the ISIL-run prison include those held for petty crimes such as theft, as well as “crimes” against Islam, which in the group’s view range from sex outside marriage to smoking.
Amnesty said children were among the detainees who had been punished with severe flogging. A father was forced to hear his son’s screams of pain as ISIL militants tortured him in a nearby room, according to the report. A child of about 14 was flogged repeatedly over several days, after being accused of stealing a motorcycle.
“Flogging anyone, let alone children, is cruel and inhuman, and a gross abuse of human rights”, Luther said. “ISIS should cease its use of flogging and other cruel punishments”, adding “ the people of Raqqa and Aleppo are now suffering under a new form of tyranny imposed on them by ISIS, in which arbitrary detention, torture and executions have become the order of the day”.
The report identified ISIL prisons in seven locations: three in the city of Raqqa, two in the province of Raqqa, and two in Aleppo.
It said the Sadd al-Baath prison was located near a dam on the Euphrates River at Al-Mansura, where the local Shariah court judge, who would appear wearing an explosives belt, had “instituted a reign of terror” over detainees.
Some former detainees accused the judge of presiding over trials lasting no longer than a few minutes, and said he took part in the flogging.
Luther urged Ankara to prevent Turkish territory from being used by ISIL to bring in arms and recruits to Syria, adding that Gulf states should also help prevent the hard-line jihadists from receiving arms, equipment or other support.