Torture in Saydnaya Prison

    • Forensic Architecture
    • 2018
    • 28 min
    • Top 10

    Syria’s Saydnaya Prison is also known as “the slaughterhouse.” Stories of systematic torture and executions have been trickling out for years, but there are no images of the interior. In partnership with Amnesty International, the Forensic Architecture research group made a 3D model of the prison based on written witness statements. This film shows how in 2016 the group interviewed five Saydnaya survivors using this model, adding more detail based on their testimonies.

    The process is complicated because trauma can distort the memory, and because the prisoners were often kept in the dark. Much of the reconstruction is therefore based on sound—water dripping through pipes, doors opening and closing. The size of cells has been estimated based on the amount of echo, or the number of tiles one of the men counted. While the witnesses tell their harrowing stories, the researchers map the prison cells, corridors and torture chambers, making the memories almost palpable.


    • 28 min
    Forensic Architecture

    IDFA history

    Top 10
    International Premiere
    IDFA DocLab Competition for Digital Storytelling
    DocLab: Elastic Reality
    DocLab Program

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