Syrian President Assad Says Torture Report Is ‘Fake News’

Fact checked

Amnesty International admits that Syrian "Saydnaya" report was fabricated in the UK

Syrian President Bashar Assad said that the allegations of torture and mass hangings in one of his military prisons were the product of a “fake news era”.

Assad claims that human rights group, Amnesty International, had fabricated evidence to discredit his government.

According to Land Destroyer report:

Even at a cursory glance, before even reading the full body of the report, under a section titled, “Methodology,” Amnesty International admits it has no physical evidence whatsoever to substantiate what are admittedly only the testimony of alleged inmates and former workers at the prison, as well as figures within Syria’s opposition.

Within the section titled, “Methodology,” the report admits:

Despite repeated requests by Amnesty International for access to Syria, and specifically for access to detention facilities operated by the Syrian authorities, Amnesty International has been barred by the Syrian authorities from carrying out research in the country and consequently has not had access to areas controlled by the Syrian government since the crisis began in 2011. Other independent human rights monitoring groups have faced similar obstacles.

In other words, Amnesty International had no access whatsoever to the prison, nor did any of the witnesses it allegedly interview provide relevant evidence taken from or near the prison.

Amnesty even hired experts to fabricate “evidence”using special effects

In the video produced by Amnesty to accompany their report, titled, “Inside Saydnaya: Syria’s Torture Prison,” the narrator admits in its opening seconds that Amnesty International possesses no actual evidence regarding the prison.

Yahoo News reports:

“You can forge anything these days,” Assad said when asked about a new Amnesty International report estimating that between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners were killed in a “calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution” at a military prison outside of Damascus between 2011 and December 2015. “We are living in a fake news era.”

Assad, combative and unyielding, also insisted the United States had no grounds to condemn Syria for human rights abuses, pointing to the invasion of Iraq and to American support for Saudi Arabia, a country that beheads prisoners. “The United States is in no position to talk about human rights,” he said. Challenged over the issue, Assad grew contentious, saying at one point, “You own the questions. I own the answers.”

The Syrian president was also confronted for the first time with chilling photographs taken by a former regime photographer, code named Caesar, depicting rows of emaciated, brutally beaten bodies of detainees — many of them believed to be political protesters — at his military prisons. The photographs — which U.S. officials have likened to images from Nazi concentration camps — were the basis for a landmark lawsuit filed in Spain’s National Court last week accusing nine senior Syrian intelligence and security officials of international human rights crimes.
Assad at first suggested the photos may have been edited and “Photoshopped.” Shown an FBI report concluding that the photos were not manipulated and appeared to depict “real people and events,” Assad dismissed it. “If the FBI say something, it’s not evidence for anyone, especially for us,” he said. “The most important thing: If you take these photos to any court in our country, could they convict any criminal regarding this? Could they tell you what this crime is, who committed it? If you don’t have this full picture, you cannot make judgment. It’s just propaganda.”

Russia has also strongly denounced the Amnesty International report calling it fake.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, told journalists during a Thursday briefing in Moscow that the report was “a false story that does not correspond to reality” and is “a fake.”

“This is yet another targeted act of provocation aimed at pouring oil on the fire of the dying-down conflict within Syria,” Zakharova said.

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