A gruesome and terrifying cache made up of some 55,000 photographs of victims of torture perpetrated by the Syrian regime exposes the horror that took place between 2011 and 2013 in the prisons of Damascus.

For the first time in Italy, an exhibit entitled “Codename Caesar: Syrian detainees of torure victims” a selection of those images produced by ‘Caesar’ – a former forensic photographer of the Syrian Military Police, make up an exhibition that has been shown at the United Nations in New York, at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress, at the Holocaust Museum in Washington and in major European cities.

It is currently showing in Rome and Mouaz Moustafa, Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force who presented the exhibition to the press, told Vatican Radio that work is ongoing – not only to try and identify the victims in the photographs, but also to try and obtain some justice. Read more...

This initiative was organized by Amnesty International Italy, Article 21, FNSI – National Federation of the Italian Press, CIDSE – Federation of Christian Organizations for International Volunteer Service, Un Ponte Per and UNIMED

The exhibition was held at the Museum MAXXI and will continue to display 30 photos taken by Caesar until October 9th.  

Stephen Rapp, who served as US ambassador-at-large for global criminal justice from 2009 to 2015, was one the speakers at the exhibit in Rome. Also, torture victim Mazan Alhummanda, who was detained during the time Caesar was taking photos inside regime hospitals and prisons including the infamously brutal Hospital 601, was also in attendance, and recalled his time over and over for the Italian media. The exhibit gave the opportunity for Italy to hear and share the stories of the atrocities seen in Caesar's photos, and hope they will bring justice to the Syrian people and the thousands who continue to suffer inside facilities controlled by the Sryian government. 

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As the Obama administration scrambles for options in Syria, officials lament that the United States has no leverage over the Assad regime, Russia or Iran to persuade them to halt their ongoing atrocities, especially in Aleppo. But behind the scenes, the White House is actually working to weaken a sanctions bill lawmakers in both parties see as providing leverage against all three. Read more...

Article by Josh Rogin of the Washington Post. Published October 6, 2016

Photo: House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) holds up a photograph of Syrian children as he speaks during a 2013 hearing on Syria. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

The White House worked behind the scenes last week to prevent a bipartisan bill to sanction the Assad regime for war crimes and atrocities against civilians from getting a vote in the House of Representatives. The Democratic leadership bowed to White House pressure and withdrew its support for voting on the bill for now.

Lawmakers and congressional staff had been preparing to bring up theCaesar Syria Civilian Protection Act this week and pass it out of the House with relative ease. The bill, named after a Syrian defector who presented the world with 55,000 pictures documenting Assad’s mass torture and murder of civilians in custody, has more than 50 co-sponsors, a majority of whom are Democrats. 

Read more... of this article by Josh Rogin with The Washington Post


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