U.N. to view photos of tortured, killed Syrians

The U.N. Security Council will meet privately to view photos part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians killed by Assad's regime

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The U.N. Security Council will meet privately to view images of Syrians tortured and killed in the country’s bloody civil war, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

France, which will be hosting the meeting, said the photos to be viewed are part of a collection of 55,000 digital images of Syrians killed by President Bashar Assad’s regime.

The projected slides will present bodies of young men who are, according to reports, emaciated with their bones protruding. Some bear marks of strangulation while others have vivid bruises and welts from being beaten.

The move is considered a bid to refer the Syrian government to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Torture in Syrian jails

The news on the U.N. meeting comes as the United Nation’s human rights chief on Monday condemned the frequent use of torture in prisons by both opposition groups and regime forces.

“In armed conflict, torture constitutes a war crime. When it is used in a systematic or widespread manner, which is almost certainly the case in Syria, it also amounts to a crime against humanity,” said Navi Pillay, the organization’s high commissioner for human rights, the U.N. reported.

Pillay called on the both sides to stop the torture immediately.
“I urge the Government and armed opposition groups in Syria to immediately halt the use of torture and ill-treatment, and to release all those who have been arbitrarily detained in conditions that clearly breach international human rights standards. Those detained must be treated humanely.”

The remarks coincide with Pillay’s office releasing a report containing accounts from victims of witnesses of torture.

“Upon arrival at a detention facility, detainees are routinely beaten and humiliated for several hours by the guards in what has come to be known as the ‘reception party’,” the report said, adding that men, women and children had all been targeted.

“Many are activists - often students - as well as lawyers, medical personnel and humanitarian workers, and some just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” it said.

(with the Associated Press)