Amnesty’s Saydnaya execution statistics largely based on guesswork By Suliman Mulhem

Amnesty International recently released a report, claiming that 5,000 – 13,000 summary executions have been carried out by the Syrian government, over the past 5 years, at Saydnaya prison. It was published while peace talks are ongoing in Astana, perhaps aimed at undermining or disrupting the political efforts there.

The organization published a post on its site, as well as a more detailed, 43 page document. On page 17 of this document, Amnesty International explains that they came up with these figures by extrapolating data, using back-of-the-envelope calculations. The below text was found buried deep in their report, explaining how they were able to calculate the execution figures which have been circulating on social media, and cited in headlines.

“These estimates were based on the following calculations. If between seven and 20 were killed every 10-15 days from September to December 2011, the total figure would be between 56 people and 240 people for that period. If between 20 and 50 were killed every week between January and November 2012, the total figure would be between 880 and 2,200 for that period. If between 20 and 50 people were killed in 222 execution sessions (assuming the executions were carried out twice a week twice a month and once a week once a month) between December 2012 and December 2015, the total figure would be between 4,400 and 11,100 for that period. These calculations produce a minimum figure of 5,336, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 5,000, and 13,540, rounded down to the nearest thousand as 13,000.”

With investigations of this nature, there will always be a certain degree of data extrapolation, but the above extract should have been included in their main press release, to give a true indication of the accuracy of the statistics.
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Follow Reporter on Twitter for Updates: @SulimanM98

Suliman Mulhem is a British-Syrian journalist. He writes for @SputnikInt, a Russian Media Outlet, and @TheArabSource.

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