On Monday, prisoners in Hama Central Prison started a hunger strike in protest of the death sentences issued against them by the Assad regime.
In a statement, the lawyer Fahed al-Qadi, a member of the Free Syrian Lawyers Association told Hurriya Press, “In protest against the death sentences issued against prisoners of conscience in the Hama Central Prison, and amid the silence of the world and international organizations around this case and the lack of interaction with them, the prisoners in the Hama Central Prison began a general hunger strike until their demands are heeded.”
The Assad regime’s field court issued death sentences against 11 prisoners in the Hama Central Prison following charges of “terrorism.”
In a video recording from inside the prison, the prisoners announced the beginning of the strike, with one of the prisoners issuing a brief statement in which it demanded the release of the prisoners who have been held by the regime since the start of the protests in Syria in 2011.
The prisoner who read out the statement said that a number of regime agencies had come to the prison and made promises that were “meaningless” and demanded for there to be a review of the file of the prisoners who have been held for years.
In the same video recording, a prisoner appears and says that he is from Hama city and is Christian, while another prisoner from the town of al-Qardaha, Assad’s hometown, appears and demands the settlement of “the status of the prisoners and for a general amnesty to be issued.”
The 11 who were sentenced were part of a large group of prisoners who were in Saydnaya prison and then transferred to the Hama Central Prison two years ago after paying a large sum of money for them to be later presented to the courts. However the regime was evasive and it to became clear later that they were to be executed. As a result, there was a strike.
The Free Syrian Lawyers Association has called on the international community and the United Nations to move immediately to save those sentenced to death in regime prisons, especially the 11 prisoners in Hama Central Prison. This is according to a special note about the killing of thousands of prisoners under torture in these prisons.
This strike comes days after the military courts sentenced the 11 prisoners in Hama Central Prison to death, after transferring them to the notorious Saydnaya prison in the Damascus countryside, known by Syrians as the “human slaughterhouse.”
The ruling was issued after the military judge Firas Dunya visited the prison on Nov. 2, 2018, and requested that the 11 prisoners be moved to carry out the death sentences against them that had been delayed, according to the Syrians for Truth and Justice rights group.
On Saturday, the group said that the decision to carry out the executions also came two days after Assad regime officials visited the prison and met with prisoners, during which they informed them of lists with various rulings against 68 prisoners.
The prisoners expressed their fear that the demands of the prison administration and the judge will be met if they go to the court sessions, fearing they will be led to have secret rulings carried out against them despite the promises and reassurances given to the prisoners. Therefore the prisoners are insisting on continuing the strike so as not to allow the regime to carry out the death sentences.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.