WARNING GRAPHIC PHOTOS - SYRIAN PHOTOS: Show 'starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, torture and killing'
Horrifying photos could indict Syrian president on crimes against humanity
WARNING: THE IMAGES THAT FOLLOW ARE GRAPHIC, DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
A Syrian defector, codenamed "Caesar" has fled his homeland with photo after photo of evidence of the worst human torture imaginable. These photos bear mute witness to "crimes against humanity" by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. As Syrian peace talks begin in Montreux this week, this recent disclosure will already add to the complexity that the United Nations in their international effort to end the three-year conflict in that country.
The photos depict bodies showing "signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing," according to the report.
The photographs allowed a death certificate to be produced without requiring families to view bodies, and also confirmed that execution orders had been carried out, the report claimed.
The photos depict bodies showing "signs of starvation, brutal beatings, strangulation, and other forms of torture and killing," according to the report. The team includes leading international lawyers and forensic experts with vast experience in the prosecution of war crimes.
Light a candle for the victims of this brutal regime.
This picture is one of 55,000 taken by a Syrian military police defector showing emaciated corpses which investigators say are evidence of extreme torture by Assad's regime.
The digital photos were reportedly taken by a member of the Syrian military police tasked with photographing the bodies. The man known only as "Caesar" smuggled the images he took during the course of his work out of Syria on memory sticks. Caesar later defected with his family fearing repercussions once the pictures were made public.
The inquiry team said it was satisfied there was "clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of persons detained by the Syrian government."
The inquiry team was chaired by Sir Desmond de Silva QC, a former Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. Silva was personally appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
The report is being made available to the United Nations, governments and human rights groups just as peace talks are due to begin in Switzerland tomorrow to try to end the three-year conflict.
"Caesar," was described as a "truthful and credible witness," according to the team's report. The team interrogated him on January 12, 13 and 18.
Caesar was requested to take photographs of people tortured and killed in detention, for two compelling reasons.
The defector's evidence, which records deaths of those in custody from March 2011 until August 2013, were smuggled out along with files detailing the victims on memory sticks.
The photos gave families a death certificate without the need for family members to examine the bodies. Secondly, the photos were used to confirm that orders to execute the individuals had been carried out.
Caesar was not a witness to the torture and execution. He had to photograph up to 50 bodies a day, which suggests systematic killings, the report concludes.
The photos will ratchet up the pressure on President Bashar Al Assad who the US and its Western allies - including the UK - say has committed war crimes against his own people.
The team said that there was evidence of "physical injury of the sort that would result from beating, binding, restraint or other physical assault but excluding injuries that could reasonably have occurred as the result of legal combat engagement."
In conclusion the report said that the evidence would support findings of "crimes against humanity" against the current Syrian regime. It would also support findings of war crimes against the regime.
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