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How the myth of the Armed Insurgents came to life…

English || Arabic

  • As a previous prisoner and detainee of the Syrian Regime held at the Air force Intelligence Department; I have written this report in order to reveal a cunning conspiracy against over fifteen thousand detainees (estimated) in the Mezzeh Military Airport- a division of Air Force Intelligence.
  • In this report I will focus on the way which false accusations are made; how most of them are related to the armed forces propaganda  of the revolution, and how detainees are forced to confess to these fabricated charges via countless and unimaginable ways.  The prisoners are held in reserve, in one of the confinement prisons-inside or outside of the airport- for an extended period of time (even up to a year or more) without any trial or appearance in front of a judicial system, all of which is in contradiction of the termination of the emergency law. The Syrian regime announced the termination of the emergency law in March 27, 2011.
  • Similar to all other “Security Forces” departments “mukhabarat”, security officers belonging to Air Force Intelligence may arrest you at a security check point, a raid, or even randomly from the street. All this of course is done without an arrest warrant.  You may be accused of something, or a spy or a mole for the regime might have written a “report” about you. You may even be a supporter of the regime.  You may be a minor, you may be guilty, but you are most likely innocent and have no idea why your arrest is so brutal.
  • The detainee is transferred to one of the two investigating units (old or new) in the Mezzeh Military Airport, either immediately following the arrest or after confinement in the operations unit. The investigation unit is made up of a number of “group” cells; each of these cells has an area of 25 square meters at most and is equipped with a bathroom inside of it. As many as 60 prisoners may be overcrowded into one of these cells. There is also a number of jail cells not equipped with a bathroom, with an area of 10 square meters, and up to 18 prisoners may be crowded into one of these.
  • Unfortunately we have little information on the actual building of the investigations unit and its structure, since the prisoner is blindfolded from the moment he enters the airport and till the point of his departure.
  • During an investigation, unlimited methods are used against the detainee to force him into confessing to crimes he is innocent of. If the investigator gets tired of a prisoner insisting on his innocence, he may go so far as to ask him, “Don’t you know how to lie?! Make up a story!” At this point the clean-handed prisoner starts to make up stories about obtaining and transporting weapons, coordinating with armed gangs or forces, defending protests with weapons, attacking checkpoints, etc. If the detainee is a college student/graduate, then the investigator will ask him to confess to belonging to revolutionary committees and organizations, stimulating and spreading sectarianism, collaborating with other countries to conspire against the security of the (Syrian) nation, etc. Either way, the investigator is in extreme greed to gain names from the prisoner of other activists who allegedly helped the prisoner in his criminal scenarios against the regime.
  • Of course all of this happens with the assistance of a vast range of torture methods that will bring even the toughest and strongest prisoner to confessing to everything he is asked to.  I will list some of the torture methods I experienced and witnessed myself in the investigations unit.
    • The “Falqa’’ : A beating with a direct focus on the feet, using numerous tools ; different sizes of electric cables, chains, hawsers, sticks, hose pipes (extremely flexible and painful when used ). A prisoner may be beaten up to several hundred times during one torture session, and we have seen many cases where the prisoner’s feet are so swollen after the falqa that the skin ruptures, leading to profound infections and/or the inability to walk for weeks.
    • The “Shabeh’’- Hanging : The prisoner is hung up from his two handcuffed hands and is left hanging in the air for extended hours which causes terrible pain and completely cuts off circulation from his hands.
    • The ‘’Karess’’- Pincher:  The pincher is basically a metal device that ensnares  the prisoner’s feet together at high pressure, then lifts him into the air (with handcuffed hands) and dangles him upside-down. Leaving the prisoner completely immobile, this is one of the most excruciating methods of torture.
  • Electric Shock:  Two electrodes are used, commonly placed near the prisoner’s heart, they also may be placed on the prisoner’s breasts, genitals, or tongue.
  • Using pliers to extract or break a prisoner’s nails, or to pull out his hair or beard.
  • These are considered the traditional torture techniques used in any investigation, in addition to the constant insults, humiliation, and intense beatings administered by the investigator. The wardens hover around the investigator and never hesitate to help him in beating and humiliating the prisoners. The investigator may put out his cigarette on any part of the detainee’s body, he may light the held prisoner’s blindfold on fire burning off his hair, and the stun gun is used nonstop throughout the investigation all over the detainee’s body.  I f the investigator is drinking “metteh” ( a kind of herbal tea popular among prison wardens and investigators) , he will splash the first mug of boiling water on the prisoner’s body. If the prisoner asks for a glass of water, the investigator will take pleasure in placing salt in the prisoner’s mouth.  These are a few of the many creative ways used in prison to obtain confessions  from the prisoners, rendering many of them unable to walk back to their cells; I’ve seen countless prisoners crawling or being carried back.
  • When the investigation is concluded, the detainee is most likely transferred to one of the following confinement centers to be held in reserve indefinitely:
    • -Air Force Headquarters- Omayyad Square
    • -The Fourth Troop Headquarters – on the road to Sabbourah
    • -Air Force Intelligence Regional Branch -Harasta
    • -Air Force Intelligence Headquarters- Tahrir (Liberation) Square
    • -(Halls-Studies-Coliseum )-Mezzeh Airport
  • I will not speak of the prisoners’ state inside prison, where they live in atrocious health and living conditions. I hereby demand human rights and international organizations to open investigations to expose the fate of these prisoners-some of whom have spent over a year without trial -after being falsely accused of charges related to weapons of which they are innocent. I also demand the investigation of why the Syrian Regime has concealed its reasons and motives for forcing these confessions.  For example, the regime may exhibit some of these forced confessions in front of the international observers, to endorse the regime’s official story that it is facing armed forces and gangs and not a peaceful revolution held by the country’s people, and twisting the fairytale into truth.  Keeping in mind that whenever the regime was expecting a league of observers to visit one of the prisons, they would empty the group and jail cells from all but a few of their prisoners. The majority of the prisoners would then be led blindfolded and chained into buses that would drive out to secluded areas far from observers. The prisoners would then remain in the buses till late hours when the possibility of observers visiting the prison were unlikely possible.
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Posted by في أغسطس 1, 2012 in Reports

 

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