Adra Prison

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Adra Prison
Location North-east outskirts of Damascus, Syria
Coordinates 33°35′24″N 36°26′26″E / 33.5901037°N 36.4404945°E / 33.5901037; 36.4404945Coordinates: 33°35′24″N 36°26′26″E / 33.5901037°N 36.4404945°E / 33.5901037; 36.4404945
Status Operational
Capacity 2,500
Population 7,000 (as of 2014)
Governor Bashar al-Assad
Notable prisoners
Anwar al-Bunni, Bassel Khartabil, Mas'ud Hamid, Haitham al-Maleh

Adra Prison is a prison in Syria, on the north-east outskirts of Damascus.[1][2] Political prisoners are held in the prison, along with a mixture of civil prisoners such as traffic offenders, murderers, and drug dealers. In 2014, the prison held more than 7,000 inmates, a dozen of them women, in space designed for 2,500.[3][4][5][6][7] The Washington Post referred to the prison as "infamous".[8]


Ghassan Najjar, an engineer who was imprisoned in 1980, reportedly went on two hunger strikes, one to protest conditions in the prison. His fellow inmates said he was beaten so badly by prison guards trying to force him to eat that he suffered spinal injuries.[9]

Mas'ud Hamid, a Kurdish journalism student, was held in solitary confinement in the prison for one year from 2003–04 before he was allowed monthly visits, and Human Rights Watch said that interrogators reportedly tortured him and beat him with a studded whip on the bottom of his feet.[10] His room was 2 by 0.85 metres (6 ft 7 in × 2 ft 9 in), largely filled by a toilet in it.[11]

In December 2004 Kurds in the prison conducted a hunger strike, which was allegedly halted by torture.[12]

In March 2011, 13 prisoners at the prison, including 80-year-old former judge Haitham al-Maleh and lawyer Anwar al-Bunni began a hunger strike to protest government oppression and the holding of political prisoners.[13]

On July 1, 2013, female detainees in the prison began hunger strike in response to negligence of their cases by the public prosecution of the Counterterrorism Court, and absence of approval of their respective trials.[14]

As of December, 2014, the jail is well beyond its 2,500 person capacity at over 7,000 prisoners of all types of accused offenders, from murderers to traffic violators.[7]

In August[15] and September, 2015, Jaysh al-Islam shelled and stormed the prison, taking control of two buildings.[16][17]

Current prisoners[edit]

Former prisoners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alan George (2003). Syria: neither bread nor freedom. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  2. ^ "Little hope for press freedom on eve of President Assad's second seven-year term". Retrieved June 14, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Aziz Abu-Hamad, Andrew Whitley (1992). Throwing away the key: indefinite political detention in Syria. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  4. ^ Khaled Yacoub Oweis. "Syrian authorities interrogate 78-year-old dissident". Reuters. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  5. ^ "Syria authorities grill 78-year-old dissident". Kuwait Times. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  6. ^ "Syria urged to transfer female prisoners". November 12, 2010. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Damascus' Adra prison massively overcrowded". Lebanon Daily Star. December 29, 2014. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  8. ^ Rhonda Roumani (January 19, 2006). "Syria Frees 5 Political Activists". Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  9. ^ James A. Paul (1990). Human rights in Syria. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  10. ^ Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch False Freedom Online Censorship in the Middle East and North Africa. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  11. ^ Human Rights Watch (2009). Far from justice: Syria's Supreme State Security Court. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  12. ^ Robert Lowe (January 2006). "The Syrian Kurds: A People Discovered" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-09-29. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  13. ^ Evans, Dominic. "13 prisoners in hunger strike action". Scotsman. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
  14. ^ Hassoun, Joud; Hashem, Fouad (July 1, 2013). "Female detainees begin hunger strike in Adra Prison". Syria Newsdesk. Retrieved July 5, 2013.
  15. ^ "Insurgents shell main prison near Syrian capital, killing 10". The Daily Star. 2015-08-23.
  16. ^ "11 dead in rebel shelling on Damascus: activists". The Daily Star. 2015-09-12.
  17. ^ "Rebels storm Syria's largest prison near Damascus: monitor". 2015-09-11. Archived from the original on 2015-10-05.