London, (IINA) - Women imprisoned in the jails of the Syrian government are sexually assaulted and tortured every day, Daily Mail reported citing a new report.
Each day, women are dragged from their cells to be tortured and raped, sometimes hung from a pole in the ceiling where they are assaulted for days.
The assaults are punishment for offenses as minor as having a picture of the revolutionary flag on their phone, the report says.
The extent of the crimes against imprisoned women was revealed in a report by the center for women, peace, and security at the London School of Economics.
The findings were published before talks in Geneva, where world powers hope to reach a political settlement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The violence is systematic, the report says, and so frequent that guards pass out contraceptive pills to the imprisoned women.
The Syrian regime denies normalizing rape and abuse as a way of interrogation procedure and punishment for men and women. In a report released earlier this month, Amnesty International found that up to 13,000 men were hanged in just one prison. A lawyer from the port city of Latakia, identified only as Basima, has detailed to The Sunday Times the extent of the abuse she faced after being captured by the regime. She was so brutally tortured that her captors thought she was dead.
Basima had been dragged from her cell early that morning, and captors planned to beat and humiliate her. One captor - who she says 'loved' to torture her - hung her from a wall that day.
She said: 'He tied a piece of cloth around my hair and hung me from a tube attached to the wall. It took my whole body weight.'
The tortures then used ropes to pull apart her legs until she was in pain and sexually assaulted her. Later they made her stand on one leg for an hour before being handcuffed.
She fell unconscious and was taken to the hospital. Basima was arrested on suspicion for helping terrorist groups. She claims she was teaching civilians first aid skills that she learned as a volunteer for the Red Crescent. Before being released in exchange for prisoners in a deal between the government and rebels, Basima says she spent two months in solitary confinement, in cell with no bed and no light. Every day she was pulled out for torture.
'They held me in front of my male friend and said, "We'll rape you if you don't confess,' Basima told The Times on Sunday. 'They called soldiers to bring my mom, who was 73, and threatened to rape her too.' Another prisoner, Yasmin, a student and aid worker was arrested on suspicion of supporting the opposition. She was taken to a military intelligence center in Damascus.
She claims one captor said she would be 'humiliated most' after he and other captors had ripped of her hijab and performed a 'virginity test'. Yasmin was in captivity for 18 months, where she faced hours of interrogations, beatings, and rape. The United Nations said on Friday that it is no longer using the phrase 'political transition' to describe the goals of next week's Syria peace talks, in a potentially major concession to negotiators representing al-Assad.
'Political Transition' is a phrase understood by the opposition to mean a removal of Assad or at least an erosion of his powers. However, his government has rejected any suggestion that it could be on the table, and at previous peace talks in Geneva, his negotiators consistently tried to steer away from it.
Yara Sharif, a spokeswoman for UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, said that negotiations will be entirely guided by UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which talks specifically about governance, a new constitution and elections in Syria. The December 2015 resolution was unanimously adopted as the basis for peace talks, which ran fitfully through the first months of 2016 but never resumed after the end of April.
The resolution says the UN Secretary-General should convene formal negotiations on 'a political transition process on an urgent basis... with a view to a lasting political settlement of the crisis'. It also refers to previous international agreements that called for a transition.
However, its description of the political process contains no mention of the phrase, setting out the aims as a new constitution, free and fair elections administered under supervision of the United Nations, and transparent and accountable governance.
The last set of UN-led Syria talks in Geneva ended in April last year, with de Mistura setting out a summary of what had been agreed so far and what next steps were needed. 'No one is doubting any more that there is an urgent need for a true and credible political transition,' the UN envoy said at the time. 'You remember when the word transition, at least in certain area, was taboo? Not anymore.'
Source: International Islamic News Agency