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SNHR Condemns Syrian Regime Forces for Detention, Fatal Torture of A Refugee Forcibly Deported from Lebanon

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Ahmad Adnan Shamsi al-Haydar, from al-Boukamal city in eastern Deir Ez-Zour governorate, was arrested in April 2024 by Syrian regime forces at a checkpoint in Damascus city. He was then taken to the Military Security Intelligence Directorate’s Palestine Branch, or Branch 235, in Damascus city.

According to intelligence received by the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) from local activists in Deir Ez-Zour, Ahmad, who had been a refugee in Lebanon, was forcibly deported by personnel from Lebanon’s General Security to the Lebanese-Syrian border along with a group of fellow refugees. This came as part of a continuing security crackdown by the Lebanese authorities against Syrian refugees in Lebanon that has been going on since the start of this year.

Ahmad was arrested as soon as he was deported from Lebanon, even though no legal arrest warrant was issued. He was denied any opportunity to contact his family or a lawyer. The last known information about Ahmad was his transfer from Palestine Branch in Damascus to the Military Security Intelligence’s branch in Deir Ez-Zour. He had been forcibly disappeared ever since.

On June 25, 2024, Ahmad’s family received notification from a Syrian regime officer that Ahmad had died inside the Military Security Intelligence Directorate’s branch in Deir Ez-Zour city. His body was returned to his family at the Ahmad al-Hwyedi Military Hospital in Deir Ez-Zour city the next day, June 26, 2024. SNHR can confirm that Ahmad was in good health at the time of his arrest, indicating a strong probability that he died due to torture and medical negligence inside the Military Security Intelligence Directorate’s branch in Deir Ez-Zour city.

International law strictly prohibits torture and 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.

Since the start of 2024, SNHR has documented that at least 126 of the refugees forcibly deported from Lebanon, including four children and three women, have been arrested by regime forces and detained in various regime detention centers. Most of these detainees were arrested by the Syrian regime’s Military Security Intelligence detachment located in al-Masna border area. SNHR must stress that the forcible deportation and refoulment of Syrian refugees constitute a violation of customary international law. The governments carrying out such acts are legally responsible for any violations that those refugees may be subjected to at the hands of the Syrian regime; including but not limited to torture, killing, and enforced disappearance, in addition, of course, to the regime’s direct responsibility for these violations.

SNHR condemns all arrest and torture practices by Syrian regime forces, more especially those inflicted on returning Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. We call for the immediate launch of an independent investigation into all incidents of arrest and torture that have taken place, particularly this 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. The findings of these investigations and accountability processes must be made public to the Syrian people. All of those involved in arrest and torture practices over the years must be exposed and dismissed, while the survivors and victims’ families must be compensated for the grave physical, psychological and emotional trauma inflicted on them.

SNHR Condemns Syrian Regime Forces for Detention, Fatal Torture of A Refugee Forcibly Deported from Lebanon