Hama detainees 'reach agreement' with Syrian regime

Hama detainees 'reach agreement' with Syrian regime
Detainees who control Hama prison have reportedly reached an agreement with the Syrian regime, which would see prison guards return, but inmates eventually released and no retaliation against them.
3 min read
09 May, 2016
Detainees are without food, water and medical supplies after a week-long strike [Facebook]

A verbal agreement has been reached between the Syrian regime and detainees at Hama prison who took control of the jail during a peaceful protest on Monday, activists have said.

Syria's interior and justice ministry verbally agreed to the terms put forward by the detainees after a week of negotiations.

A tribal chief named Sheikh Nawaf al-Mulhim is said to have negotiated the agreement with the detainees, which it is hoped will guarantee the inmates' safety after a rare act of civil disobedience in Syria's jails.

Safe release

The agreement would see the regime take control of the prison but all 800 inmates would freed over the next four months, through several batches of releases.

Those sentenced the death would also be given amnesty, Yalla Souriya and Detainees of Hama Prison reported.

Only prison guards will be allowed to enter the jail, with the notorious intelligence services and feared regime militias - known as the Shabiha - barred from the facility.

Guards will also not be allowed to enter the dormitories of the political prisoners' wing, and detainees will not be sent to other prisons in the country.

Army and other security forces besieging the jail will also leave the area, while supplies of food and water - which have been running desperately low - will be allowed into the prison.

Power will also resume and medicine supplies brought in, which comes after the reported death of one sick detainee earlier this week.

Most importantly, detainees want no punitive measures to be taken against them.


However, activists are skeptical about the regime agreement with the detainees. They know that Damascus has broken countless promises with opponents to its rule in the past.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that this is the third protest by detainees in the prison since 2013.

The last act of civil disobedience ended with an agreement, but the regime soon went back on its word. 

All those who took part in the second protest were punished and transferred to prisons with far worse reputations than Hama central prison.

The activist group describes detainees as civilians who have been sentenced under sweeping anti-terrorism laws. This allows virtually all acts of peaceful protest to be punished, and can ultimately - and likely - lead to the torture and death of those arrested.

All the inmates taking part if this protest are peaceful civilians, The New Arab has been told.

On Sunday morning, a video was released by the detainees calling on rebel groups not to use violence in their name.

Later in the day, reports emerged that regime troops had stormed the prison. This was dismissed by the group, although they said that detainees had been hit with stones and verbally insulted.

Monday's prison revolt was sparked after guards attempted to transport five political prisoners from Hama jail to one of the country's most feared prisons in Damascus.

Since then detainees have held the jail peacefully, and no prison guards or security officials have been reportedly hurt by the protesters.