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Syrian President "Papa Doc" Assad's Torture State

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"I was being beaten all over my body. I was bleeding and was saying the shahada to myself, "There is no God, but God,' because I thought I was going to die at that moment," he said.

'Rampant torture'

Arrested simply for trying to travel from Banias back home to his village on the outskirts of the city, the student had nothing valuable to tell his torturers about the organised political opposition to President Assad and his family's forty-year dictatorship.

But that, it appears, was not the point.

Where the torture cells of Tadmor, Syria's desert prison, once extracted confessions from individuals accused of standing against the Assads - Communists like Akram Bunni, left partially paralysed after his spine was stretched in a torture known as the German Chair; Muslim Brotherhood members whipped with cable and stunned with electric shock devices - today's torturers appear to be pursuing a policy of deterrence and collective punishment.

The student was released after only a few days, but the message to the wider community of Banias was clear: A naked body, covered in blood, left to limp along the long road back to his village, clutching his broken hand, for all to see.

Three other young men, beaten, thrown down stairs and forced to drink water from a toilet after being starved, were also dumped naked and bloodied on a road outside Banias.

A YouTube video, claiming to have been shot in Banias but which cannot be independently verified, shows men with signs of severe beating on their backs and faces.

"Syrian security is now releasing detainees with unhealed wounds caused by torture in order to spread panic and fear among people hoping it will reduce the numbers participating in demonstrations," said Wissam Tarif, Director of Insan, a leading Syrian human rights organisation, which has documented cases of torture.


The Arab Awakening is now poised on the edge of a sword as the degenerate institutions of the past, les anciens regimes , attempt to maintain the horrors of the past through violent repression. It is incumbent upon all truly progressive forces in the world, those that really reject the authoritarian paradigm and the crushing of human and civil rights in the name of power, privilege or ideology, to speak out in solidarity with the Awakening, for it is our Awakening too.

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I am a student of history, religion, exoteric and esoteric, the Humanities in general and a tempered advocate for the ultimate manifestation of peace, justice and the unity of humankind through self-realization and mutual respect, although I am not (more...)
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