Reliable news sources have reported incidences of patient torture in Syrian hospitals, primarily military hospitals in the Homs area. As these reports are circulated worldwide they are likely to provoke responses from NATO, China and Russia, as well as the U.S. which has thus far shown great restraint in becoming involved in Syrian affairs following the unexpected outcomes in Egypt and Libya.
We have to wonder if the reports of hospital patients, even those in intensive care units, chained to beds, blindfolded and tortured, are plausible.
MSNBC News is in possession of video provided by an anonymous hospital employee and broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 News which includes photos of a rubber whip and an electrical cable on a table in one hospital room. The witness appears to have risked his life to bring evidence of torture by civilian and military surgeons and some nurses. The alleged torture took place in the ambulance section, the prison ward and the the radiologyy department, as well as the intensive care unit.
The witness, who reported the “shameful things” said he tried to stop them, and was branded a traitor. Speaking to a French photojournalist who was also at risk, he said:
I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks. They perform operations without anesthetics. I saw them slamming detainees’ heads against walls. They shackle the patients to beds. They deny them water. Others have their penises tied to stop them from urinating.
The witness provided the names of many who worked hand in glove with Syrian soldiers and the Mukhabarat secret police.
The United Nations Human Rights Commission of Inquiry has verified the reports, and also refers to slaughter, throats being cut and bodies in large numbers in the streets. The commission has recommended to the UN Security Council that the Syrian regime be referred to the International Criminal Court. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced he was receiving “grisly reports of summary executions, arbitrary detentions and torture” from Homs. China and Russia continue to condemn the violence, but remain hesitant to remove their veto block from NATO forces.
The witness who provided the footage to the British press claimed that many of the victims, including a young man of fifteen who was tortured by fire, were civilians, although some at the Homs Military Hospital were regime soldiers who refused to follow orders. He said some of the victims had nothing to do with the demonstrations.