The following is a film made by Channel 4’s correspondent Jonathan Miller reporting the systematic and explicit violations of Human Rights in Syria. Here is the script of the short report:
Now they are among the most damning images yet to emerge from inside Syria. Video shot secretly inside the military hospital in Homs by an employee of the hospital reveals for the first time how injured civilian victims of the violence are being tortured in their beds by medical staff. The video is being made available to this program and this extended report by our foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Miller contain extremely distressing images right from the very start.
-This is the military hospital in Homs. The images you are about to see were filmed secretly by a worker there who says it has become a torture chamber. He accuses doctors of doing the unthinkable. For months, there have been rumors; now for the first time: video evidence. In a ward, wounded man lie blindfolded and shackled and according to our whistle blower, they’re flogged and electrocuted in their hospital beds. On a table, a rubber whip and an electrical cable, tools of the trade. This filmed within the past 3 months; it’s recent.
On government orders, all of those shot or injured in protests in Homs must be brought here to the military hospital. The rusty chains are very tight. This smuggled video which we’re unable to independently verify accords with persistent and mounting accounts of torture in hospitals. Injured people should never expect this sort of “treatment”, so much for medical efforts!
This man’s chest and hands bear the marks of severe beating. Such injuries typical of those now widely seen on the thousands of Syrians who claim to have been tortured.
For months, civilians in Homs have been targeted by President Bashar Al Assad snipers, tanks, and artillery, but the covert abuse of patients in Homs military hospital presents an even darker twist to the regime’s criminal conspiracy. The hospital worker who risked his life to film in the wards tried to stop what he called “shameful things”, but was branded a “traitor”. He was interviewed in a safe location:
”I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks. They operate without anesthetics. I saw them slamming detainees’ heads against walls. They shackle the patients to the bed. They deny them water. Others have their penises tied to stop them from urinating.”
Our hospital source has provided us with the names of civilian and military doctors and surgeons and other medical staff whom he accuses of assaulting patients. Many, he said, are kept alive simply so that they can be interrogated. Others revived between torture sessions. He says he witnessed abuse in the ambulance section, the prison wards, the X ray department, and even perversely in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Sometimes they have to amputate limbs and they go gangrenous because they don’t prescribe antibiotics. Some of the detainees used to be taken from the hospital to the prison. They bring them back either dead or with a brain hemorrhage.”
We showed the video to one of Britain’s top forensic pathologists. Could the injuries on this man’s chest have been inflicted by the whip and electrical cable lying in the ward, I asked.
“Yes, I think the strong corroboration that these are the instruments that have produced the injuries to the chest. What you have across the chest is a series of linear bruises and they’re all parallel suggesting the man wasn’t moving at the time. They’re quite thin, the same as the instrument. And they’ve curled around the chest and around the right arms so they’re flexible; so the instrument is a flexible instrument. So you’re looking for a long, thin, flexible instrument exactly as it is shown. To inflict suffering like this on someone who is already injured is a really cruel, ill treatment.”
Those who claim to be victims of similar abuse in other state run-hospitals have told Channel 4 news that wounded demonstrators have even been killed in hospitals. The United Nations and International Human Rights groups have reported that doctors treating injured protesters have also been arrested, tortured, and killed. The military hospital is run by the Ministry of Defense. Our whistle blower claims soldiers and doctors work hand in glove with the feared Mukhabarat secret police. Because injured civilians know it is not safe to go to state-run hospitals, most turn to hopelessly underequipped, unhygienic, make shift back-street clinics. The hospital worker said that while some of the victims were soldiers who refused to follow orders, most were civilians. Some he said had nothing to do with anti-regime demonstrations. Others have been injured when their neighborhoods were attacked.
“The youngest I saw was 14 or 15 years old. Many detainees names were removed from emergency admissions lists so that no one would know where they were. There were no names, just numbers. One of the doctors poured alcohol on the pubic area of a 15 year old boy then set him on fire.” The surgeon said there were some “decent doctors” as he put it who refused to participate in their abusive patients, but he said they were under constant close surveillance.
The Syrian government has said it does not wish to comment on the allegations contained in this report, but when similar allegations first began to surface last year, I put them to the director of Syria’s biggest military hospital in Damascus.
General Fausal Hassan:“If a terrorist come and injured, we give him every treatment. “
Journalist:” You would treat insurgents, you would treat unarmed civilians, without question?”
General:”And armed civilians.”
Journalist:”And civilians. And this is because of the Hippocratic —–“? So what is your reaction to the allegations that military doctors are refusing to treat injured protesters, and sometimes even involved in acts of torture.
General:”This is untrue.”
The General went on to deny that Syrian army tanks would ever fire into residential neighborhoods. Anti-Assad activists claim 700 people were killed in the month-long bombardment of Bab Amr district in Homs. Unknown hundreds more would have been injured; unknown because the International Red Cross is still being denied access to Bab Amr, which Syrian forces entered last week.
The grim evidence of torture in Homs military hospital begs the questions to where wounded civilians should now be taken for treatment once the Red Cross finally goes in to get them.
Assad’s militias haven’t only tortured sane people in hospitals and dungeons, but also tortured mentally retarded men:
-Hani Raslan, he is suffer from mild mental retardation.
-The head of the polyclinics in Al Ghouta district,Doctor Hashem Odeh.
-This is decision of health exemption taken by the medical commission in the Southern region.
-This is the “terrorist” that lost his way to them.
-Woman:”What did this man do you to you,Bashar?
-He’s a retard.
-May God never forgive you Bashar. May God never grant you success.
-Why are you letting the military do this?
-What are these children doing to you?
-What did my child do to you?
-My child barely has some brains.
-May God never grant you success.
-May God never forgive you.
-May God send someone to crack your neck Bashar Al Assad
His sister,Nada Raslan,in the first invasion into Houleh in the holy month of Ramadan.
-What did he do to you? What did my child do to you? May God never grant you success.
Assad’s militias have been responsible directly and indirectly in every death in Syria’s besieged areas for the past 11 months. Because of the siege on several cities, including the city of Homs, newly born children who need immediate hospitalization and nursery are dying because their families are denied access to leave the occupied district, town, or city.This video taken on the 4th of March,2012 reports one of the countless similar stories proving Assad’s forces involvement in every single death since the commencement of its crackdown on peaceful protesters in 15/3/2011.
Homs,Karm Al Zaytoun,4/3/2012-A child born just 10 minutes ago.He wasn’t hospitalized because Assad’s militias and Shabiha siege on the district. The infant has died.Let the world see,let the world see what these criminal are doing. Look you Arabs,this is a 10 minute old child,now dead .Now the regime will tell you “these are Arour’s fabrications”. Look you Arabs.Look at what they’re doing to us here.Look you Muslims.
The murder of innocent infants by denying them access to hospitals is the definition of genocide.Bashar Al Assad’s regime is not “tracking down insurgents”, it’s,in actually, tracking down the youth and elderly of Syria for the sake of immortal power. Atrocities are being committed every single day.