Syria: death in custody of Dr Abbas Khan described as 'deeply troubling'
Responding to news from his family that the British surgeon Dr Abbas Khan has died in custody in Syria, Amnesty International UK Syria Campaign Manager Kristyan Benedict said:
 
“We don’t know the full circumstances yet, but this is yet another deeply troubling death in custody in Syria.  
 
“We know all too well that the torture of detainees is widespread and committed with impunity by the Syrian authorities, with detainees often crowded into vermin-infested cells, denied urgently-needed medical treatment and even abused by medical staff. 
 
“The UK government should denounce Dr Khan’s death in the strongest possible terms and ensure that, no matter how long it takes, whoever is responsible is brought to justice.
 
“Dr Khan’s tragic death reinforces the need for the UK to continue pressing for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.”
 
Since the beginning of the Syria crisis in March 2011, Amnesty has received the names of over 1,000 people believed to have died in the custody of the Syrian security forces. Many thousands of people have been detained incommunicado and without charge, often in conditions that amount to enforced disappearance. 
 
Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, including children, is widespread and committed with impunity by government forces and associated militias seeking to extract information or “confessions” and to terrorise or punish suspected government opponents. Methods included severe beatings, suspension by the limbs, being hung in a tyre, the infliction of electric shocks, and rape and other sexual abuse. Detainees are often held in very cramped unsanitary conditions and denied medical treatment or even abused by medical staff.