July 3, 2012

Ad Hoc and Joint Detention Facilities

  

Central Prison – Idlib [160]

Officers in charge of facility:

  • Bassel Bilal (police officer directly involved in torture)[161]
  • Ahmad Kafan (police officer directly involved in torture)[162]
  • Bassam al-Misri (police officer directly involved in torture)[163]

Location:

Coordinates: 35.926587N, 36.636158E

Documented Methods of Torture and Ill-Treatment

Beating; falaqa; basat al-reeh; electrocution; sexual abuse.

General Comments

The Idlib Central Prison consists of five floors, including the basement. According to a former prison guard, security forces took over the third floor and the basement of the prison at the end of April and started bringing detainees there because the other detention facilities were full. [164] Most of the former detainees from the Central Prison interviewed by Human Rights Watch had been detained in connection with a massive arrest campaign following the killing of 120 members of the security forces in early June. [165] Several former detainees emphasized that there were children among the detainees and that they were being tortured as well. [166]

The former guard and detainees explained that a “security committee” of representatives from the main security and intelligence agencies was in charge of the third floor and the basement, but they also had seen the head of the prison there. Some detainees said that Political Security was mainly in charge of the third floor while Military Intelligence was in charge of the basement.

The third floor contained at least one big common cell, measuring about 50-70 square meters. While the number of detainees in the cell varied, it often contained 120-130 people. The third floor also contained several torture rooms with metal doors, interrogations rooms with wooden doors, and a medical room. [167] The basement was one big space – one former detainee estimated it to measure 400 square meters – which was divided into cells with partitions.

Security forces tortured detainees both on the third floor and in the basement. Several detainees and one former guard provided detailed descriptions of how the three police officers listed above were directly involved in much of the torture on the third floor. [168]

The former prison guard, who was in charge of ordering food for the detainees, said that there were about 900 detainees in the basement and more than 300 on the third floor in October 2011. Former detainees provided similar estimates. [169]

  

Statements by victims and eyewitnesses:

After we arrived on the third floor, the guards started calling people. They had to be carried back to the cell on a blanket because of the torture. Some people’s feet were red and swollen from the beating.

The next day they called my name. I couldn’t walk because of the beating from the day before, but one of the guards hit me with a cable and I jumped to my feet.

They dragged me to a room with two benches. They put me on one of them and raised my legs and then they hit me 32 times on the soles of my feet. I couldn’t speak. I would have told them anything.

Then they took me back to the cell, carrying me on a blanket because I couldn’t walk. I put my feet in water and then I started crying.

After about 25 days [being tortured several times] they sent me down to the basement where they interrogated me three times. It was even worse in the basement. They told me that they would not torture me if they believed me. “But if we don’t,” they said, “we will kill you.” They put me in the flying carpet and said that they would hit me 130 times and that I should count. They said that they would start over if I didn’t count correctly. When I had counted to 99 the interrogator used an electric prod on my back to make me stand and forced me back to the cell.

—Thirty-one-year-old Yazid, who was detained on June 9 and spent 69 days in the Central Prison in Idlib.[170]

***

They forced me to undress. Then they started squeezing my fingers with pliers. They used a stapler to put nails in my fingers, chest, and ears. I was only allowed to take them out if I spoke. The nails in the ears were the most painful. They used two wires hooked up to a car battery to give me electric shocks. They used electric stun-guns on my genitals twice. I thought I would never see my family again. They tortured me like this three times over three days.

—Thirty-one-year-old Khalil, who was detained in the Idlib governorate on June 29 and spent about two months in several places of detention, including about one month in the Idlib Central Prison.[171]

Acknowledgements

This report was researched and written by Ole Solvang, researcher in the Emergencies division, Anna Neistat, associate director for Program and Emergencies, and a researcher in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) division who preferred not to be named. Other staff members and a consultant, who also preferred not to be named, provided valuable research assistance.

Nadim Houry, deputy director of the MENA division; Clive Baldwin, senior legal advisor; and Tom Porteous, deputy program director, edited the report. Portions of the report were reviewed by Samer Muscati, researcher in the Women’s Rights division, and Priyanka Motaparthy, researcher in the Children’s Rights division. This report was prepared for publication by Adam Coogle, coordinator in the MENA division; Grace Choi, publications director; and Fitzroy Hepkins, production manager. Amr Khairy coordinated Arabic translation and provided production assistance. Accompanying multimedia was produced by Pierre Bairin, multimedia director; Amanda Bailly and Mariam Dwedar, assistant producers; and Anna Lopriore, multimedia producer.  

We are deeply grateful to the individuals who shared their personal stories with us despite concern that they might face repercussions from the authorities. Their commitment to get their stories out despite the risks and challenges is an inspiration.

[1] See “Syria: Sexual Assault in Detention,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 15, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/15/syria-sexual-assault-detention; Human Rights Watch, “They Burned My Heart”: War Crimes in Northern Idlib during Peace Plan Negotiations, May 2012, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2012/05/02/they-burned-my-heart-0; “Syria, Stop Torture of Children,” Human Rights Watch news release, February 3, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/03/syria-stop-torture-children; Human Rights Watch, “We Live as in War”: Crackdown on Protesters in the Governorate of Homs , Syria, November 2011, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/11/11/we-live-war-0; Human Rights Watch, “We’ve Never Seen Such Horror”: Crimes against Humanity by Syrian Security Forces , June 2011. http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/06/01/we-ve-never-seen-such-horror-0; “Syria: Rampant Torture of Protesters,” Human Rights Watch news release, April 15, 2011, http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/04/15/syria-rampant-torture-protesters.

[2] See Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, Statistics for the Number of Detainees, http://vdc-sy.org/index.php/en/ (accessed June 25, 2012).

[3] Human Rights Watch, By All Means Necessary!”: Individual and Command Responsibility for Crimes against Humanity in Syria , December 2011, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/12/15/all-means-necessary-0 .

[4] Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[5] International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED), adopted December 20, 2006, G.A. Res. 61/177, U.N. Doc. A/RES/61/177 (2006), entered into force December 23, 2010, art. 2 [Syria has not ratified the ICCPED]. 

[6] Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, U.N. Doc. A/CONF.183/9, July 17, 1998, entered into force July 1, 2002, art. 7.

[7] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Hatem, November 18, 2011.

[8] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Samir, December 14, 2011.

[9] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012. The detainee who was beaten because he kicked on the door corroborated the account in a separate interview in a different location. Human Rights Watch interview with Yazid, January 9, 2012.

[10] See also Amnesty International, “ Syria: ‘I Wanted to Die’: Syria’s Torture Survivors Speak Out ” A.I. Index MDE 24/016/2012 , March 14, 2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE24/016/2012/en (accessed June 25, 2012 ).

[11] Human Rights Watch/Middle East, Syria Unmasked: The Suppression of Human Rights by the Asad Regime (New Haven: Yales University Press, 1991), pp. 54-57.

[12] “Syria: Sexual Assault in Detention,” Human Rights Watch news release, June 15, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/06/15/syria-sexual-assault-detention.

[13] Human Rights Watch interview with Halim, November 3, 2011.

[14] Human Rights Watch interview with Afif, November 2, 2011.

[15] Human Rights Watch interview with Amer, January 10, 2012.

[16] Human Rights Watch Interview with Walid, April 13, 2012; Ghassan, April 15, 2012;.Ghassan G., October 29, 2011; Mohamed M., October 27, 2011;

[17] Human Rights Watch interview with Habib, October 26, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Yazan, October 26, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Ramzi, November 1, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Zakhya, October 29, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Mahdi, November 3, 2011.

[18] Human Rights Watch interview with Zahi, January 7, 2012.

[19] Human Rights Watch interview with Fathi, July 30, 2011.

[20] Human Rights Watch interview with Zahi, January 7, 2012; Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012.

[21] Human Rights Watch interview with Fares, May 23, 2011; Human Rights Watch interview with Ayman, May 23, 2011.

[22] According to the Violations Documentation Center, 428 of the 575 died from torture, 76 were executed without being tortured, and 71 were executed after having been tortured. People who were executed in the field, and executions and torture in the absence of evidence of state involvement are excluded. For each death, the VDC collects the name, age, time of death, and place of death, see Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, Statistics for the Number of Martyrs, http://vdc-sy.org/index.php/en/ (accessed June 25, 2012).

 

[23] Human Rights Watch Interview with Walid, April 13, 2012.

[24] Human Rights Watch Interview with Ghassan, April 15, 2012.

[25] International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), adopted December 16, 1966, G.A. Res. 2200A (XXI), 21 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 16) at 52, U.N. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171, entered into force March 23, 1976, acceded to by Syria on April 21, 1969, arts. 4, 7. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention against Torture), G.A. res. 39/46, U.N. Doc. A/39/51 (1984), entered into force June 26, 1987, acceded to by Syria on August 19, 2004.

[26] Rome Statute. Syria has signed, although not ratified, the Rome Statute and so is obliged to refrain from acts that would ‘defeat the object and purpose of [the] treaty’. See Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, 1969, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 1155, p. 331, acceded to by Syria in 1970. Syria signed the Rome Statute on November 29, 2000.

[27] Rome Statute, art. 25(3), which stipulates, in part:

“In accordance with this Statute, a person shall be criminally responsible and liable for punishment for a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court if that person:

(a) Commits such a crime, whether as an individual, jointly with another or through another person, regardless of whether that other person is criminally responsible;

(b) Orders, solicits or induces the commission of such a crime which in fact occurs or is attempted.”

[28] Rome Statute, art. 28.

[29] Rome Statute, art. 27.

[30] Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, Statistics for the Number of Detainees, http://vdc-sy.org/index.php/en/ (accessed June 25, 2012).

[31] “Syria, Stop Torture of Children,” Human Rights Watch news release, February 3, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/03/syria-stop-torture-children; Human Rights Watch.

[32] Human Rights Watch interview with Hossam, January 28, 2012.

[33] Liam Stack, “Video of Tortured Boy’s Corpse Deepens Anger in Syria,” New York Times, May 30, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/middleeast/31syria.html (accessed June 25, 2012).

 

[34] Human Rights Watch interview with Sabah, January 10, 2012.

[35] Human Rights Watch interview with Nour, June 23, 2012.

[36] Human Rights Watch interview with Abu Ghassan, April 26, 2012.

[37] The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Abdul Fatah Kudsiyeh (also spelled Abd Al-Fatah Qudsiyah) on May 9, 2011, for being “involved in the repression against the civilian population” in Syria. “Council I No. 442/2011 of 9 May 2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria,” Official Journal L 121/1, May 10, 2011, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2011:121:0001:0010:EN:PDF (accessed June 25, 2012).

[38] Human Rights Watch interviewed nine people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[39] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012.

[40] Human Rights Watch interview with Amine, November 2, 2011; Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012.

[41] According to Amine, Brig. Gen. Salah Hamad personally participated in his torture. Amine, a former career military officer, had previously served with Hamad and immediately recognized his voice. According to Amine, Hamad admitted that it was he when Amine asked. Human Rights Watch interview with Amine, November 2, 2011.

[42] All coordinates are given in the format Latitude, Longitude using the decimal system.

[43] Human Rights Watch interview with Halim, November 3, 2011.

[44] Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[45] Human Rights Watch interview with Fawzi, January 6, 2012.

[46] Human Rights Watch Interview with Ammar, January 9, 2012.

[47] Human Rights Watch interviewed ten people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[48] Human Rights Watch interview with Ghadi, January 7, 2012. Media reported that Muhammad Khallouf defected in January, 2012, but Human Rights Watch has not been able to verify this. See for example, Shaher `Ayyad, “Khaddam Reveals to Al-Masry Al-Youm Details of the Failure of the Assad Family’s Attempt to Flee,” Al-Masry Al-Youm, January 30, 2012, http://www.almasryalyoum.com/node/629086 (accessed June 25, 2012).

[49] Human Rights Watch interview with Marwan, November 1, 2011.

[50] Human Rights Watch interview with Rudi, January 6, 2012.

[51] Human Rights Watch interview with Talal, November 4, 2011.

[52] Human Rights Watch interview with Samer, July 28, 2011.

[53] Human Rights Watch interview with Wael, July 28, 2011.

[54] Human Rights Watch Interview with Nabih, January 7, 2012

[55] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Samir, December 14, 2011.

[56] Human Rights Watch interviewed eight people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[57] Human Rights Watch interview with Hussein, November 2, 2011.

[58] Human Rights Watch interview with Ammar, January 9, 2012.

[59] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Munir, November 21, 2011.

[60] Human Rights Watch interviewed three witnesses who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[61] Mustafa told Human Rights Watch that he was brought before Rustom Ghazali and that Ghazali was the one to give orders to beat him. Human Rights Watch interview with Mustafa, October 27, 2011. See also Human Rights Watch interview with Fares, May 23, 2011; Ghadi, January 7, 2012. The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Rustom Ghazali (also spelled Rustum Ghazali) on May 9, 2011, for being “involved in the repression against the civilian population” in Syria. Council Regulation (EU) No. 442/2011 of 9 May 2011.

[62] Human Rights Watch interview with Mustafa, October 27, 2011.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Human Rights Watch interview with Lutfi, January 8, 2012.

[65] Human Rights Watch interviewed four witnesses who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[66] Human Rights Watch interview with Omar, June 11, 2012.

[67] Human Rights Watch interview with Yamen, November 2, 2011.

[68] Human Rights Watch interview Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[69] Human Rights Watch interview with Yamen, November 2, 2011.

[70] Human Rights Watch interviewed six people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[71] Human Rights Watch interview with Halim, November 3, 2011. The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Loai al-Ali (also spelled Lu’ai al-Ali) on November 14, 2011, for being “responsible for the violence against protesters” in Daraa. “Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1151/2011  of 14 November 2011  implementing Regulation (EU) No 442/2011 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria,” Official Journal L 296/3, November 15, 2012, http://www.damaskus.diplo.de/contentblob/3335114/Daten/1737139/COUNCIL_IMPLEMENTING_EU_REGULATION_No_1151_2011_of_14Nov11_Syria_eng.pdf (accessed June 25, 2012).

[72] Human Rights Watch interview with Mohsin, November 3, 2011.

[73] Human Rights Watch interview with Ayoub, November 4, 2011.

[74] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[75] Human Rights Watch interview with Fawzi, January 6, 2012.

[76] Human Rights Watch interview with Fawzi, January 6, 2012.

[77] Human Rights Watch interview with Fawzi, January 6, 2012.

[78] Human Rights Watch interview with Rudi, January 6, 2012.

[79] Human Rights Watch interviewed seven people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[80] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012; Ghadi, January 7, 2012; Imad, January 8, 2012; Najib, January 10, 2012.

[81] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012.

[82] Human Rights Watch interview with Yousef, January 9, 2012.

[83] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012.

[84] Human Rights Watch interview with Hassib, January 7, 2012.

[85] Human Rights Watch interview with Ghadi, January 7, 2012.

[86] Human Rights Watch interview with Samer, July 28, 2011.

[87] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Munir, November 21, 2011.

[88] Human Rights Watch interviewed five people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[89] Human Rights Watch interview with Talib, January 10, 2012.

[90] Human Rights Watch interview with Salim, January 12, 2012.

[91] Human Rights Watch interview with Kamal, January 10, 2012.

[92] Human Rights Watch Interview with Nabih, January 7, 2012.

[93] The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Jamil Hassan on May 9, 2011, for being “involved in the repression against the civilian population” in Syria. Council Regulation (EU) No 442/2011 of 9 May 2011.

[94] Human Rights Watch interviewed nine people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[95] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012; Rami, October 28, 2011.

[96] Human Rights Watch interview with Rami, October 28, 2011.

[97] Human Rights Watch interview with Jad, November 1, 2011.

[98] Human Rights Watch interview with Zakhya, October 29, 2011.

[99] Human Rights Watch interviewed two people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[100] Human Rights Watch interview with Bashir, January 25, 2012.

[101] Human Rights Watch interview with Bashir, January 25, 2012.

[102] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[103] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012.

[104] Human Rights Watch interview with Marwan, November 1, 2011.

[105] Human Rights Watch interview with Fahim, November 3, 2011.

[106] Human Rights Watch interview with Marwan, November 1, 2011.

[107] Human Rights Watch interviewed two people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[108] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012.

[109] Human Rights Watch interview with Toufiq, November 23, 2011.

[110] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[111] Human Rights Watch interview with Chahid, October 27, 2011.

[112] Human Rights Watch interview with Fadi, January 10, 2012.

[113] Human Rights Watch interview with Salim, January 12, 2012.

[114] The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Mohamed Dib Zeitun (also spelled Zaytun and Zeitoun) on May 9, 2011, for being “involved in the violence against demonstrators” in Syria. Council Regulation (EU) No 442/2011 of 9 May 2011.

[115] Human Rights Watch interviewed four people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[116] Human Rights Watch interview with Farid, October 27, 2011.

[117] Human Rights Watch interviewed nine people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[118] Human Rights Watch interview with Sultan, January 7, 2012.

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with Wadih, January 7, 2012; Abdallah, January 8, 2012.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with Sultan, January 7, 2012.

[121] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with Abdallah, January 8, 2012.

[123] Human Rights Watch interviewed two people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[124] Human Rights Watch interview with Hamad, April 25, 2012; Omar, June 11, 2012.

[125] Human Rights Watch interview with Omar, June 11, 2012.

[126] Human Rights Watch interview with Ziad, January 25, 2012.

[127] Human Rights Watch interview with Ziad, January 25, 2012.

[128] Human Rights Watch interviewed six people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[129] Human Rights Watch interview with Ghalib, January 7, 2012; Salim, January 12, 2012.

[130] Human Rights Watch interview with Ghalib, January 7, 2012.

[131] Human Rights Watch interview with Amer, January 10, 2012.

[132] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture and ill-treatment in this branch.

[133] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayid, by phone, June 20, 2012.

[134] Human Rights Watch interview with Jihad, May 22, 2011.

[135] Human Rights Watch interview with Fakhri, January 11, 2012. The Council of the European Union imposed travel restrictions and an asset freeze on Ali Mamlouk (also spelled Mamluk) on May 9, 2011, for being “involved in the violence against demonstrators” in Syria. Council Regulation (EU) No 442/2011 of 9 May 2011.

[136] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[137] Human Rights Watch interview with Omar, June 11, 2012.

[138] Human Rights Watch Interview with Fakhri, January 11, 2012.

[139] Human Rights Watch Interview with Fakhri, January 11, 2012.

[140] Human Rights Watch interview with Firas, November 3, 2011.

[141] Human Rights Watch Interview with Fakhri, January 11, 2012.

[142] Human Rights Watch interview with Firas, November 3, 2011.

[143] Human Rights Watch interviewed four people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[144] Human Rights Watch interview with Bassam, November 1, 2011.

[145] Human Rights Watch interview with Marwa, January 25, 2012.

[146] Human Rights Watch interview with Selma, January 24, 2012.

[147] Human Rights Watch interviewed two people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[148] Human Rights Watch interview, June 18, 2012.

[149] Human Rights Watch interview with Malik, January 10, 2012.

[150] Human Rights Watch interviewed two people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[151] Human Rights Watch interview with Suleiman, January 8, 2012.

[152] Human Rights Watch interview with Nidal, January 6, 2012.

[153] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[154] Human Rights Watch interview with Tarik, November 18, 2011.

[155] Human Rights Watch interviewed three people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[156] Human Rights Watch interview with Sayid, June 20, 2012.

[157] Human Rights Watch interview with Assi, July 26, 2011.

[158] Human Rights Watch interview with Chafik, January 7, 2012.

[159] Human Rights Watch interview with Ziad, January 25, 2012.

[160] Human Rights Watch interviewed six people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[161] Three former detainees and a defector who used to work in the Idlib Central Prison told Human Rights Watch that the three named officers were directly involved in the torture and provided details about the torture methods used. Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012; Imad, January 8, 2012; Jalal, January 8, 2012; Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Ibid.

[164] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012. A former detainee who was detained on June 9 told Human Rights Watch that the security forces first took him to the Military Intelligence branch and then to the Political Security branch in Idlib, but because both were full they then brought him to the Central Prison. Human Rights Watch interview with Yazid, January 9, 2012.

[165] See, for example, “Syria Vows ‘Decisive’ Response in Jisr al-Shughour,” BBC News, June 6, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13677200 (accessed June 25, 3012).

[166] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012.

[167] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012 ; Yousef, January 9, 2012.

[168] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012; Imad, January 8, 2012; Jalal, January 8, 2012; Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[169] A detainee who was held in the Idlib Central Prison basement in August estimated that there were 800 detainees there. Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012. A detainee estimated that there were 300 people on the third floor in mid-July. Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with Yazid, January 9, 2012.

[171] Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[160] Human Rights Watch interviewed six people who suffered or witnessed torture in this facility.

[161] Three former detainees and a defector who used to work in the Idlib Central Prison told Human Rights Watch that the three named officers were directly involved in the torture and provided details about the torture methods used. Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012; Imad, January 8, 2012; Jalal, January 8, 2012; Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[162] Ibid.

[163] Ibid.

[164] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012. A former detainee who was detained on June 9 told Human Rights Watch that the security forces first took him to the Military Intelligence branch and then to the Political Security branch in Idlib, but because both were full they then brought him to the Central Prison. Human Rights Watch interview with Yazid, January 9, 2012.

[165] See, for example, “Syria Vows ‘Decisive’ Response in Jisr al-Shughour,” BBC News, June 6, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13677200 (accessed June 25, 3012).

[166] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012.

[167] Human Rights Watch interview with Jalal, January 8, 2012 ; Yousef, January 9, 2012.

[168] Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012; Imad, January 8, 2012; Jalal, January 8, 2012; Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[169] A detainee who was held in the Idlib Central Prison basement in August estimated that there were 800 detainees there. Human Rights Watch interview with Isam, January 7, 2012. A detainee estimated that there were 300 people on the third floor in mid-July. Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with Yazid, January 9, 2012.

[171] Human Rights Watch interview with Khalil, January 8, 2012.