According to pro-regime media, the Syrian regime’s Ministries of Interior and Culture have signed a cooperation agreement to open cultural centers in Syrian prisons. On Facebook, the Ministry of Culture posted photos of Interior Minister Mohammed al-Rahmoun and Culture Minister Lubana Mushauh at the Interior Ministry’s headquarters signing executive decrees for managing the prison cultural centers.
These decrees are aimed at “rehabilitating and integrating prison inmates into society and transforming prisons from detention centers into correctional facilities. The centers offer cultural activities to prison inmates including seminars, publications, theater performances, and literacy courses.”
Earlier, the Interior Ministry announced that the notorious Damascus Central Prison had started offering courses in computers, music, English, and Russian for inmates to raise their cultural awareness. In November 2020, Mashauh and Rahmoun participated in opening an exhibition of paintings and handmade artworks by the prison’s inmates, as well as the inauguration of a new section for the prison library.
In a rare event, the regime opened the prison’s doors to local media. The official Syrian news channel al-Ikhbariya reported on the prison, which is still being used to detain political prisoners, despite being a civilian prison under the Interior Ministry’s responsibility.
Since 2011, the Syrian regime has been trying to cultivate a positive media image for prisons and detention facilities across the country through this type of favorable media events and coverage. The most recent instance occurred last July, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding to provide for the prison inmates’ rehabilitation through education opportunities, with a view to obtaining a university degree. Meanwhile, the regime continues to face accusations of human rights violations while refusing to introduce political reforms to the country.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.