Syrian regime 'blackmails' families of released detainees, demands money
Syrian regime officers have allegedly blackmailed the families of recently released former detainees and demanded large sums of money from them, according to local media.
The former detainees were released under the regime’s recent amnesty decree, however security offers of the political security detachment in the Damascene city of Qudsaya have allegedly demanded up to 30 million Syrian pounds in exchange for the permanent closure of their cases, Voice of the Capital reported.
The regime has released 523 people under the decree but is still detaining around 132,000 people in connection with the Syrian uprising, Chairman of the Syrian Network for Human Rights Fadel Abdul Ghany told The New Arab, highlighting that 87,000 people people are still forcibly disappeared.
“The officers threatened… that the release of [the prisoners] came without closing their security cases, and that they are still subject to arrest later," the Damascus-focused news outlet quoted local sources as saying.
Officers allegedly requested sums ranging from 20 to 30 million Syrian pounds per former detainee, according to the source, who said some families are fulfilling the authorities’ requests out of fear for their loved ones re-arrest.
The April 30 amnesty pardoned detainees accused of terrorism, a “loose label” used to convict those who were arbitrarily arrested during the country’s revolution, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Those who Assad arrested or disappeared are his hostages, he is acting like a mafia," Abdul Ghany told The New Arab, highlighting that "only 6 or 7 forcibly disappeared people had been released as part of the amnesty decree".
"If Assad continues to release an amnesty decree every year, and releases one thousand [each time], then we need 132 years until all detainees are released, [that is] if he was to stop arresting [people]... and he never stops," Abdul Ghany added.
It is estimated that half a million Syrians have been detained in regime prisons since 2011 - when the Syrian uprising against dictator President Bashar al-Assad's began - with at least 100,000 dying from torture or unsanitary conditions.
The revolution witnessed the deaths of over 500,000 people, most of whom were killed at the hands of the regime and its ally Russia.