A video leaked from a military hospital in the embattled Syrian city of Homs has revealed horrific images of patients receiving torture, instead of treatment, by medical staff.
A worker at the hospital covertly shot the video and leaked it to the British television broadcaster Channel 4 News.
The footage from the Homs military hospital showed wounded patients blindfolded and shackled to their beds with marks of torture on their bodies. Some instruments of torture, including a rubber whip and electrical cable, appear on a table in one of the hospital wards.
Human rights activists and medical professionals told Channel 4 they consider the deliberate infliction of pain on patients by hospital staff as “a gross breach of medical ethics.”
The Syrian government has ordered that all those shot or injured in protests in Homs must be brought to the military hospital for treatment.
The horrific images raise concerns about the fate of the hundreds of wounded civilians from the battered district of Baba Amro, the rebel enclave in Homs that succumbed to month of artillery and tank bombardment.
The hospital worker who released the footage said he attempted several times to stop what he called “the shameful things” that were taking place in the Homs military hospital but was branded a “traitor.” He was interviewed in a safe location.
“I have seen detainees being tortured by electrocution, whipping, beating with batons, and by breaking their legs. They twist the feet until the leg breaks,” he told “Mani”, a French photojournalist, who himself risked his life, smuggling the covert footage out of Syria.
“They perform operations without anesthetics,” the hospital employee told him, according to Channel 4.
“I saw them slamming detainees’ heads against walls. They shackle the patients to beds. They deny them water. Others have their penises tied to stop them from urinating.”
He said he witnessed torture by civilian and military surgeons at the hospital and by other medical staff, including male nurses.
He said he heard patients screaming while being kicked or beaten in the hospital’s ambulance section, its prison wards, the X-ray department and even, perversely, in the Intensive Care Unit, Channel 4 reported.
“Sometimes they have to amputate limbs and they go gangrenous because they don’t prescribe antibiotics,” the hospital employee said.
The new evidence supports reports by an independent international commission of inquiry into the brutal repression in Syria that security and military forces have committed crimes against humanity against civilians, including acts of murder, torture, rape and imprisonment.