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AI estimates up to 13,000 civilians executed in Syrian military prison over four years

Amnesty International has estimated that 50 civilians per week were unlawfully executed at a military prison between 2011 and 2015. The rights group has called on the regime to be brought before the ICC.

Watch video 00:29

Amnesty: Thousands hanged in Syrian prison

Between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed in the Syrian military prison at Saydnaya between 2011 and 2015, according to a report published on Tuesday by rights group Amnesty International (AI).

The majority of the victims were civilians who had denounced the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Amnesty said.

The report, entitled " Human slaughterhouse: Mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya prison, Syria" was corroborated with 84 witness and expert accounts, including prison guards, former prisoners, judges and lawyers.

"Between 2011 and 2015, Saydnaya saw mass executions that came to total around 50 people per week," AI's General Secretary in Germany, Markus N. Beeko, said,

The executions were reportedly authorized by the Syrian government, with military tribunals taking just minutes before prisoners were sentenced to death.

Thousands more people are reported to have died through torture and inhumane treatment. "These major systematic violations in human rights mean that we are dealing with cases of crimes against humanity," Beeko said. "These crimes cannot go unpunished; they must be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)."

Watch video 06:44

AI report on Saydnaya prison - Talk with Kristin Helberg and Anwar al-Bunni

If this route is blocked by the UN Security Council, then individual member states should do all they can to make sure that these crimes are answered for, Beeko added.

Syria has been rocked by bloody civil war since 2011, which has seen more than 310,000 people killed and millions more displaced.

dm/jm (AFP, dpa)

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