A man from al Qanawat town in the northwestern suburbs of Suwayda governorate, named as Nabil Ghaleb Khair, who was born in 1967, was arrested by Syrian regime forces on June 4, 1991, in the Lebanese village of Jezzin, during the Syrian regime’s occupation of Lebanon, and taken to the Security and Reconnaissance Branch of the Military Security Branch in Anjar town in Lebanon, before being transferred to the Syrian regime’s infamous Palestine Branch in Damascus city. Thereafter, he was sentenced to death by a Midan Military Court (a security military court lacking any of the essential principles of a fair trial) on charges of “plotting intrigues with hostile parties and contacting them to help them win the war”, with the sentence subsequently being commuted to life imprisonment. Throughout the duration of his imprisonment of almost 30 years, Nabil was transferred between several prisons, including Seydnaya Military Prison, with the last prison he was held in being Suwayda Central Prison. He was prevented from contacting his family for the first 14 years, until 2005, and suffered bad heath throughout the entire period of his custody, exacerbated by his being deprived of the necessary medical care.
On April 19, 2021, he was taken by policemen from Suwayda Central Prison to the national Hospital in Suwayda governorate where he died on the morning of April 23, 2021. His body was handed over to his family; according to the Association of Detainees and Missing Persons of Sednaya Prison the main cause of his death was the lack of medical care during his custody.
SNHR notes that, since the start of 2021, it has documented three cases of detainees’ deaths in the Syrian regime’s central prisons following decades of imprisonment.
We also can confirm that at least 131,106 Syrian citizens are still detained or forcibly disappeared in the regime’s detention centers, constituting a grave threat to the detainees’ wellbeing, especially given the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The cases documented on the SNHR’s database include only those people detained since March 2011, with the number of political detainees imprisoned prior to this date unknown. All detainees are exposed to torture and lack of medical care, with SNHR documenting that at least 14,315 Syrian citizens have died due to torture in Syrian regime detention centers since March 2011 up till this moment.