Whether a fire was set at Hasaka prison on 24 March 1993 killing around 60 people [SYR34299.E]

In a report entitled Syria-Repression and Impunity: The Forgotten Victims, Amnesty International briefly describes the circumstances surrounding the fire in the Hasaka prison. The report also argued that "strong evidence" pointed to the denial of the right to a fair trial by the authorities of the five men accused of setting the fire:

The five were accused of setting fire to al-Hasaka Prison on 24 March 1993 and were executed on 20 May of the same year. Such speed raises serious questions about the fairness of the trial and observance of the international guarantees and safeguards required in death penalty cases (24 Feb. 1995).

AFP stated that on 20 May 1993 five Syrian prisoners were hanged after being found guilty of setting fire to the al-Hasaka Prison and causing the deaths of 57 victims (15 June 1993). The five prisoners, aged between 25 and 33, were common criminals who set fire to the prison to avoid being caught trafficking drugs (AFP 20 May 1993). Two other accomplices were sentenced to life in forced labour while a third, aged 17, was given 12 years of forced labour (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Agence France Presse (AFP). 15 June 1993. Marie Sanz. "Pendaison Publique à Damas." (NEXIS)

_____. 20 May 1993. Michel Viatteau. "Cinq Pendaisons Publiques en Syrie." (NEXIS)

Amnesty International. 24 February 1995. Syria-Repression and Impunity: The Forgotten Victims. (AI Index: MDE 24/02/95) http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aipub/1995/MDE/240295.MDE.txt [Accessed 22 May 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

Syria Times [Damascus]. http://www.teshreen.com/syriatimes/ [Accessed 22 May 2000]

Americans for Free Lebanon: Virtual Library Human Rights Report. http://www.aflnet.com/hrreports/hr950225.html [Accessed 22 May 2000]


World News Connection (WNC)