Inside ‘The Worst Place on Earth’ – Syria’s Hellish Saydnaya Prison

Repeatedly jumping on the head of the prisoner with full weight till blood starts flowing on the floor – ex-detainee Samer al Ahmed says that it is ‘one’ of the methods used to torture prisoners in Saydnaya prison.
After ages of media blackout, ex-detainees and guards have started speaking about the hellish torture that they faced/witnessed inside the Saydnaya Military Prison, 30 km north of Damascus.
The prison has been a blind spot on humanity and studies lead on it until 2016 when Amnesty International came out with their public findings on the detention centre.

Before and after shots of Saydnaya detainee Anas Hamido show dramatic weight loss
Source: ABC News

Eyal Weizman, director of Forensic Architecture, says that not only the torture is bone-chilling and humanity abusing, but the infrastructure is built to amplify the impact as well.
“As we pieced together the model, we realized the building isn’t only space where incarceration, surveillance and torture take place, but that the building is, itself, an architectural instrument of torture’’ he said.

Source: Google Earth

The cells are designed in a way that echoes the sounds. So one person being tortured equals to all of them being tortured.
An ex-guard at the purgatory, Hamza, speaks of his nightmare. He said he saw people, many of them, dying or dead. Hamza says that worst of human rights violation and humiliation happens behind the closed doors of Saydnaya. He said that prisoners are forced to sleep, eat and defecate in the same place.
Some of them sleep while standing – some of them die while standing.

In another report by Amnesty in February 2017, it allegedly revealed the horrific insides after interviewing 84 witnesses, former detainees and guards. The report revealed that every week, about 50 people are taken out for arbitrary trials, were brutally beaten and then hanged “in the middle of the night and in total secrecy’’.

Source: Aljazeera


A former judge who witnessed the executions said that they were hanged for 10-15 minutes while blindfolded. Younger ones, who didn’t weigh much, would be pulled down by the guards, breaking their necks. Hamza said that he had no choice. He would fake illness and stage fights to avoid going to work. He said that he never tells anyone he worked there, as he is afraid some people might kill him.

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