A 45-year-old man, named as Hekmat Khalil al De’ar, from al Tayyana village in east of Deir Ez-Zour governorate, a married father of two, who worked as a shepherd, was arrested by the Suqour al Shamal Brigade affiliated with the Syrian National Army on September 16, 2021 during a raid on his home in Ras al Ein city in the northwest of Hasaka governorate, with SNHR also documenting the arrest of five other civilians, including a woman, in Ras al Ein on the same date.
The arrest was carried out without any legal warrant issued by a court, with Hekmat being taken to an SNA detention center in the city on charges of having dealings with Syrian Democratic Forces, where he was supposed to be held while awaiting a fair trial on these charges.
SNHR notes that Hekmat had been persecuted by the SDF in 2020 which forced him to leave al Tayyana village and move to Ras al Ein city.
On September 20, 2021, Hekmat’s family was told by an SNA member that they had to go to the hospital in Ras al Ein city. On their arrival at the hospital, the family was informed of Hekmat’s death, with hospital staff handing over his body to his family members the next day. On September 22, 2021, SNHR received a number of photos and videos and the autopsy report from Ras al Ein city’s Health Directorate which confirm that Hekmat had been subjected to brutal torture.
International law categorically prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman and humiliating treatment, with this legislation becoming a fundamental and inalienable customary and universal rule that cannot be compromised on or compared with other rights or values, even during a state of emergency; any violation of the prohibition on torture is a crime under international criminal law with the persons who ordered or assisted in torture bearing criminal responsibility for such practices.
SNHR condemns all kidnapping and torture practices carried out by forces affiliated with the Syrian National Army, which have increased significantly since the start of 2021, and calls for the immediate launch of an independent investigation into all such cases, particularly this barbaric incident. We also call for all those involved in the incident to be held fully responsible, stressing that everyone involved, from those who ordered it to those who carried it out, must be held accountable. Syrian society must be informed of the results of this investigation for the sake of trust and accountability, and all those involved in kidnapping and torture in recent months must be identified and dismissed, while all victims must be compensated for the physical and psychological injuries they have been subjected to. The opposition must not follow the strategy of the Syrian regime and Russia in denying the occurrence of violations, a strategy which has resulted in no security element, officer or shabih being held accountable for their crimes for ten years.