US Imposes Sanctions on Syrian Prisons, Officials for Torture
The US Treasury Department announced Wednesday that it was imposing sanctions on eight Syrian prisons and five prison officials for “human rights abuses against political prisoners and other detainees.” Some of the prisons were featured in graphic images taken by a former Syrian military photographer, codenamed “Caesar,” who exposed the brutal torture used against prisoners in Syria. “Today’s action … seeks to promote accountability for the Assad regime’s abuses,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. Thousands of photographs taken by “Caesar,” including some showing eye gougings, strangulation and long-term starvation, were smuggled out of Syria between 2011 and mid-2013. The Treasury Department also imposed sanctions on Syrian armed rebel group Ahrar al-Sharqiya and two of its leaders, accusing them of multiple crimes against civilians, in particular Syrian Kurds, including unlawful killings, “abductions, torture, and seizures of private property.” The Treasury Department, in a separate statement, announced sanctions against a Turkey-based al-Qaida financial facilitator and a Syria-based fundraiser and recruiter for the Tahrir al-Sham group.