A top Russian official made the following statement today:
Russia enjoys good and strong military technical cooperation with Syria, and we see no reason today to reconsider it—Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov
While Russia touts its good and normal relations with the Syrian regime, more evidence has emerged of crimes against humanity committed by the Syrian government under President Bahsar al-Assad. Our new report “I Wanted to Die”: Syria’s Torture Survivors Speak Out exposes the system of torture within Syria, on a scale not seen for decades. It identifies 31 methods of torture.
While I was reading through the new report over the weekend, I remembered my experiences meeting survivors of atrocities several years ago and how hearing their stories made such a lasting impact on me. While absolutely not comparing any situations, I couldn’t help but notice how the personal testimonies from torture survivors in Syria had a very different effect on me than reading about the horrific fatality statists or reviewing satellite images of Homs. Frankly speaking, after a moment of helplessness, I got even angrier; and determined to not rest until Russia, Syria’s closest ally and a key pressure point, drops its shameful silence.
So instead of sharing here with you a summary of our new report—we have a press release for that—I wanted to share the voices of 19 Syrians who were recently tortured and who told us their story. Like other recent testimonies from Syria, we have made them available on our Eyes on Syria map. I encourage you to read their stories, become angry, and act (see below what you can do immediately):
- “Karim,” age 18, Der’a
- “Adnan,” age 35, Der’a
- “Abd al-Baset,” age 41, Der’a
- “Ra’ed,” age 27, Der’a
- “Musleh,” age 29, Der’a
- “Thamer,” age unknown, Damascus
- “Abu al-Najem,” age 40, Der’a
- “Muhammed,” age 23, Damascus
- “Najati,” age 65, Homs
- “Al-Shami,” age 40, Damascus
- “Tareq,” age 27, Tartus
- “Jihad,” age 34, Der’a
- “Emad,” age unknown, Damascus
- “Mousa,” age 26, Der’a
- “Ghazi,” age 22, Damascus
- “Tayseer,” age unknown, Der’a
- Zakariya, age unknown, Damascus
- “Zuheyr,” age unknown, Der’a
- “Rima,” age 36, al-Suwayda
Time To Act
- Join our global #eyesonsyria Twitter campaign: Activists around the world will target the Russian President on Wednesday, March 14, from 8am-10am EST (noon-2pm London time). Feel free to tweet before or after that time window (remember to use the hashtag #eyesonsyria). Sample tweets:
- 19 more reasons for @MedvedevRussiaE to support #Syria UNSC action: torture survivors speak out http://bit.ly/pKWYmV #eyesonsyria [Click to Tweet!]
- #Russia: No More Excuses, Stand Up Against Bloodshed in #Syria http://bit.ly/pKWYmV @MedvedevRussiaE #eyesonsyria [Click to Tweet!]
- Sign the new online petition and share it with your friends: Russia: No More Excuses, Stand Up Against Bloodshed in Syria
- If you are in DC: Come to our protest at the Russian embassy this Friday, March 16, noon.
- Watch this space our follow us on Twitter for regular updates and new action opportunities.
To receive additional updates on this action and the latest developments in Syria and the UN Security Council, please follow me on Twitter.