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SNHR Condemns SDF’s Detention, Fatal Torture of Khirou al-Shlash

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Khirou Ra’fat al-Shlash, a 44-year-old car trader and livestock merchant from al-Sheikh Yahya village, which is administratively a part of Manbij city in eastern rural Aleppo governorate, was detained on April 25, 2024, by personnel from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as they followed him for a while after leaving his home in al-Sheikh Yahya village. The arresting personnel severely beat him and shot him, injuring his back.

Khirou’s detention was conducted with no judicial warrant. He was taken to the SDF’s al-Maliya Prison in Manbij city, and he was accused of working with Syrian regime forces.

On April 27, 2024, Khirou’s family was notified by an SDF member that he had died in al-Maliya Prison. His body, showing signs of severe torture, was returned to the family the next day at al-Furat ‘Euphrates’ Hospital in Manbij city. The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) can confirm that he was in poor health at the time of his arrest due to the injuries he sustained during the detention, indicating a strong probability that he died due to torture in the SDF detention center. On April 28, 2024, SNHR received a number of photos clearly showing that Khirou Ra’fat al-Shlash was subjected to barbaric torture during his detention.

International law strictly prohibits torture and all other forms of cruel, degrading, or inhumane torture. The prohibition of torture is a customary rule that cannot be disputed or balanced against other rights or values, even in times of emergency. Violating this rule is a crime according to international criminal law. Those who issued the orders for or assisted in carrying out torture are criminally liable for their actions.

SNHR condemns all abduction and torture practices by SDF armed personnel, as by all other forces. We call for the immediate launch of an independent investigation into all incidents of arrest and torture that have taken place, particularly this latest barbaric incident. We also call for all of those involved in such crimes to be held accountable, from the officials issuing the orders to the individuals who carried them out and all who colluded in the process. The findings of these investigations and accountability processes must be made public to the Syrian people. All of those involved in abduction and torture practices over the past years must be exposed and discharged, while the survivors and victims’ families must be compensated for the grave physical and moral trauma inflicted on them.

SNHR Condemns SDF’s Detention, Fatal Torture of Khirou al-Shlash