Over 60,000 people have died in Syrian prisons since the start of the conflict in the country. That number, from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights comes from May 2016, so is estimated to be greatly higher.
One of the most notorious is the military prison Saydnaya, near Damascus, where between March 2011 and December 2015 experienced 300 deaths per month. Amnesty report that between 5000-13,000 people were executed there without trial over a similar time period.
The stories of the prisoners are seldom heard but Silenced Voices: Syrian Women in Assad’s Prisons is an exhibition opening in Manchester next month that aims to highlight their plight through the combination of powerful images and biographical accounts – detailing the torment of both former and current detainees.
One of the stories featured describes the experience of Sara Al-Alaw:
Sara Al-Alaw was born in 1994 in the city of Alboqmal, Deir Ezzour. She was a student at the Institute of Medical Technology in the Department of Anesthesiology at Damascus University.
In June 2013 during exam season, Sara was arrested at her University by security forces. This occurred after Sara had engaged in a sharp discussion with one of her friends about the political situation emerging in Syria. Sara was then transferred to a political security branch in Fayhaa, Damascus.