Very unexpected news here, a UN inspector has been allowed in to a Syrian prison for the first time ever. Access was granted after numerous requests, which the UN never thought would come of anything.
Even more unexpected news: the UN inspector was impressed by what he found in the Damascus central prison. The full report will be released next June, but Anand Grover, a United Nations Human Rights Council rapporteur has been talking to the media about what he found.
As usual, Phil Sands has the exclusive story for The National:
According to activists, Damascus central prison provides a reasonable standard of living, including good food, adequately sized cells, a library and television. Mr Grover said it had an ambulance on 24-hour standby, and provided medical care that was “up to the mark”.
Syrian-based activists also seem pleased:
“There is a new openness now, and this is a very good step, another good signal. We look forward to the government taking more steps, especially in regard to releasing political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.”
said Abdel Karim Rehawee, the founder of the Syrian Human Rights League (quoted by Phil Sands).