A report by the Association of Inmates and Disappeared of Sednaya Prison reveals that families were forced to bribe corrupt agents.
Families of those forcibly disappeared in Syria paid more than $ 100 million in bribes to obtain information about them, new report says report who claims to have uncovered a model of extortion that financed the government of Bashar al-Assad and his repressive apparatus.
The Sednaya Prison Inmates and Disappeared Association (ADMSP) report says Syrian guards, judges, military personnel and intermediaries have received reductions in payments made by families under of a corrupt system that has pumped large sums into the government. Treasury.
According to the report, enforced disappearance is a major strategy of the Syrian state to control and intimidate society.
He cited the notorious Sednaya prison on the outskirts of the capital Damascus as the top of a list of detention centers responsible for enforced disappearances, with more than 80% of those cases reported in the facility.
Half of those forcibly disappeared were arrested at checkpoints along the borders as people tried to flee the nearly ten-year war in Syria.
The ADMSP said more than 500 families of forcibly disappeared were interviewed for the report.
More than a quarter of those polled – 129 participants – said they paid together $ 461,500 to obtain information on a forcibly missing person. As for the sums paid for a promise to visit the forcibly disappeared, the total is $ 95,250.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that almost 100,000 Syrians have forcibly disappeared since the country’s civil war began in 2011. The vast majority of them have disappeared within the first three years, with 2012 being the record year.
The ADMSP also conducted interviews with 709 released prisoners and found that for 44% of them (312 participants), the total amount of money they reported being paid for information about their fate and pledges to visit them reached over $ 1,119,000.
As for those who were promised release, the sums paid by their families exceeded $ 1 million.
Based on this data, the report concluded that a total of $ 2.7 million was paid by the families of released prisoners who have been promised information, a visit or release.
“If we assume that the total number of forcibly disappeared is 100,000 … and a total of 250,000 have been arrested and released [which is a very conservative estimate, since the real number is probably much larger], then the total amount paid is close to $ 900 million, ”the report said.
The ADMSP report holds the Syrian Arab Army primarily responsible for cases of enforced disappearances.
He called for maximum pressure to be exerted on Syria’s allies, especially Russia – whose military intervention in September 2015 tipped the scales of the war in favor of al-Assad – to force the Syrian government to reveal the fate of the forcibly disappeared.