A new exhibition revealing the “unimaginably horrific” treatment of prisoners in Syria is coming to Lancaster Priory this month.
The Silenced Voices exhibition - organised by Rethink Rebuild Society in collaboration with the Children’s War Museum - comes to Lancaster on Saturday March 23 from 9am until 3.30pm and includes a talk by a former detainee.
According to Manchester based charity Rethink Rebuild Society, since 2011 at least 60,000 people have been killed in Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s prisons.
On average, it is estimated that 300 people are killed per month in military facility Sadynaya Prison, near Damascus.
The organisation said: “The acts committed against prisoners are unimaginably horrific and aim to destroy the mental and physical strength of a detainee so that they are left with a feeling of utter worthlessness.
“Women are suffering in the Syrian regime’s prisons, detained for helping others and organising for a better future. The treatment that female prisoners receive in Assad’s prisons can vary from rape and physical torture to psychological torment.”
One former female detainee, who is living in Manchester, said: “I want to cast light on Syrian prisoners, so the world knows the torture, hardship and brutality that they are going through. I was imprisoned in 2012, and I saw many people die there.
“My brother was imprisoned in 2014, and to this day we do not know if he is alive.
“All we really want in Syria is freedom.”
Other former detainees speak of electrocutions, hangings, whipping, injections with hallucinogenic drugs and rape.
Asma, served at a very high rank in the Free Syrian Army fighting Assad.
She would often be in charge of 15 men at any given time.
During her 38 days in prison, Asma was subject to horrific torture - whipping with a wire, being strung up by her wrists and feet, and being injected in the crook of her elbow with hallucinogenic drugs.
She described how several women were blindfolded and raped, not knowing who or how many men were raping them.
Rethink Rebuild Society (RR) works towards improving the lives of refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, in particular but not exclusively Syrians in the UK, helping them become positively established within the British society.
Through working with Syrian refugees in the UK, it also endeavours to promote peace and protection of civilians in Syria.
The Children’s War Museum has been established to present children’s experience of war through their own voices and creativity.
Its partners include survivors groups, young activists, artists, filmmakers, art projects, refugee and education charities and human rights supporters.
The talk at the event starts at 11.15am, with a movie screening of Silent War at 12pm.