THROWING AWAY THE KEY Indefinite Political Detention in Syria

Political detainees in Syria have the distinction of being some of the most isolated in the world. Most have no contact whatsoever with their families; security services for their part, seldom acknowledge having them in their custody. Cramped in windowless underground cells, or in giant communal cell blocks with open-mesh roofs, thousands of individuals whose #147;crime” was affiliation with banned political organizations have remained in detention without trial for years and, in a handful of cases, for more than two decades. Despite the amnesty of some 3,500 detainees in 1991 and what initially appeared to be timely and impartial trials for others, Middle East Watch concludes that a fair trial is impossible in Syria without fundamental reform.

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