Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Hama Prison 2016 on the Pace of Sidnaya Prison 2008 | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hama Prison

HAMA- Hama Central Prison, the official civilian detention center, have witnessed many protests by prisoners since 2013, where the Pro-Governmental Forces detained so far about 762 person from different governorates.

According to SNHR, this is the 3rd protest by detainees in Hama Central prison against the unfair death sentences provisions issued against them by the anti-terrorism court and the court of the military field in one hand, and the governmental forces and the transfer of convicts to Sidnaya Military Prison on the other hand.

Noting that all detainees files are subjected to the court of “Combating Terrorism” 1st and later to the Military Court and the court of the military field.

All of prisoners who were contacted by SNHR expressed their fear of punishment and retaliation, once the governmental forces break into the prison. One of the detainees lost his life to cancer on the 4th day of protest, May 5, because of the prison’s administration refusal to treat him.

Recalcitrance of the Detainees

A Pro-governmental group called “The Peacekeeping Forces” broke into a room called “rioting and terrorism” in a routine-like entry witnessed progressively by prisoners, where 3 dormitories were attacked by severe beating.

The clash between “Peacekeeping Forces” and the detainees led to the capture of 8 members from the Forces and their officer. They were held in one of the dormitories while the rest of the members withdrew .

The incident was followed few hours later, according to SNHR, by tear gases fired towards the walls of the rioting and terrorism area, by the prison administration which lead to the suffocation of nearly 56 detainees; also electricity, water and food was ordered to be cut.

On the 3rd of May, negotiations mediated with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and so called “the reconciliation committee” along with other number of religious figures, between the prison administration and attended leaders from the security branches in Hama City, lead to the release of 32 detainees from the prison, 31 one of them are in favor of the “anti-terrorism court”.

8 of the released were transferred by the Red Crescent to areas under the control of armed opposition factions, and 24 others were in shelters but then dispersed in the district to avoid being re-arrested.

On the 5th of May, detainees were demanded to end the strike and release the members held captive.The next day the governmental forces tried to invade the Central Prison using tear gas bombs and lively shooting nearby prisoners leading to the suffocation of a number of detainees, despite those who were injured. On the same day, the High Commissioner Prince Raad bin Zeid Al-Hussein issued a statement in which the Syrian authorities were invited to negotiate calling for the non-use of force.