Alyn Smith MEP, Scottish member of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has hosted a public exhibition of the evidence of torture in Syria at the European Parliament, after it was shown by the US Congress and UN HQ in New York.
The Caesar exhibition displays photographic evidence of the Assad regime mass-use of torture to suppress internal dissent, four years after Syria's revolution was met with all-out repression.
The exhibition consists of 34 photographs of dead bodies from Syria's "Caesar" report, which are part of 55,000 images leaked by a defecting Syrian forensic officer, known as Caesar for security reasons.
Following three months of negotiations, Alyn convinced the President of the European Parliament to authorise the highly sensitive photographs so that European decision-makers could be reminded of the day-to-day tragedy the Syrians are going through. The request to hold the exhibition was initially refused by the Parliament authorities, a decision Smith appealed to the President directly. Smith persuaded several other MEPs from other political groups to co-sponsor the exhibition to demonstrate the cross party support for the exhibition.
Alyn Smith said:
"The people of Syria have every right to feel let down and abandoned by the world community. I want to in hosting this exhibition send a message of hope to Syria, that despite everything we are not forgetting them. By showing a sample of the Assad regime's past and current crimes against humanity, I want the European Parliament to send a message to the world that we must open our eyes and end Syria's bloodshed.
"Syrian activists wonder how long will it take for impunity to end in Syria? I know this exhibition is a drop in the ocean, but if it can give hope that justice still matters for us, then I am happy to contribute.
"I am proud the exhibition received the cross-party support of seven leading Members of the European Parliament andthe full support of the Parliament's President.
“The extent of Syria's humanitarian and human crisis compels us to overcome all political divisions to support the Middle East. Even today the EU has announced an addition 36 million euro of assistance on top of the 4 billion euros already spent in emergency assistance to Syria's 4 million refugees, half of which are children, and the 7 million internally displaced Syrians who have left their home. But we can do much more. I am ashamed of the UK's constant refusal to welcome Syrian asylum-seekers while Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have each received over a million Syrian refugees since 2012 and hope that the UK will show rather more humanity than it has to date.
"The hosting of this exhibition I believe turns a corner on Syrian issues within the European Parliament, and I hope that my colleagues will continue to be active in pushing the case for accountability."
More information on the Caesar Exhibition:
The Caesar Exhibition displays photographs of detainees from the Syrian regime’s prisons and detention centres. The photographs were taken by a former military policeman of the Syrian army – known by the pseudonym “Caesar” – who fled Syria in 2013. Caesar smuggled out with him over 55,000 photos of approximately 11,000 Syrians tortured by the Assad regime. The 11,000 victims he photographed represent only a fraction of the systematic torture and killing that took place inside Syrian regime’s prisons. The veracity of the photographs was confirmed by an international team of medical experts and endorsed by the UN Independent Inquiry Committee on Syria.