book “Sednaya Prison During The Syrian Revolution:Testimony of Ashraf al-Hussein

At our first days in the prison they used electric cables, quadruple cables, to beat us. They were cables plaited twice, so they have four wires twisted together.

August 10, 2020

book “Sednaya Prison During The Syrian Revolution:Testimony of Ashraf al-Hussein

Source: The Association of Detainees and The Missing in Sednaya Prison

They arrested us in the Military Academy, transported us to the Military branch of Investigation No. 293, where they kept us for more than one hundred days, then they deported us to the prison of Sednayah.

When we arrived at the prison of Sednayah, they entered us into a gloomy corridor where we felt that it was a horror studio; many corpses laid on the ground, drenched with blood. The walls and the floor were stained with spots of dry blood, exactly as if we were entering a slaughterhouse. They registered our names, and ordered us to take off our clothes to be submitted to an extended party of beating. Then they entered us into cells, they call them solitary cells, but they squeezed inside them any number of human beings they can. The ceiling of our cell was dripping abundantly. We felt as if we were under the rain in the open air. I believe that was intended.

We spent fifteen days in that cell subject to relentless beating with every meal of food. Due to the severity of beating, we wished not to have food, result of the unbearable torture and humiliation practiced upon us with every meal they offer.

When they moved us from the cells to the dormitories, we believed that we will be moved from hell to heaven, so we thought at that moment; having in mind that they will not beat or humiliate us there because we have already become old prisoners. Unfortunately, that was not true, rather, they continued beating us just for beating.

Food was another story; sometimes they put it out of the dormitory for the following day, or they throw it on the floor, but most humiliating was throwing it on the heads of the prisoners. They used to bring the three meals of the day all together, and even then, the share of the whole day was not sufficient to feed a little child.

In the days of visits, each one of us used to take a corner of the dormitory praying not to be privileged with one. We even communicated wills, demanding from those released from this hell, to visit our families to quench their heated anxiety and to tell them not to think of visiting their son if they ever want to see him alive again, because he might be killed after that visit.

Jailers beat those called to meet members of their families on their way from the dormitory to the meeting room, and return them back under heavy beating. One of my colleagues, “a son of our case” as we used to say, was called to have a visit, after seeing his family they dragged him back to the dormitory. I stole a look and saw them beating him with a 1.5 m metal pipe, a tool was extensively used in torturing us. We dubbed it “the death pipe” because two or three beats were enough to kill the prisoner.

At our first days in the prison they used electric cables, quadruple cables, to beat us. They were cables plaited twice, so they have four wires twisted together. They also used green PVC water pipes. These tools can kill too, because beating was arbitrary, it saves no part of the body; the head, the belly, the legs or the hands. They used to beat us as if they were shaking dust off a wool fleece, while our eyes were closed. Kicking with the military boots is even more harmful than beating with the metal pipe, because it will, sure, cause death if it is practiced on the belly.

Result of shortage of food and lack of exposure to the sun, diseases spread among prisoners in a way that any illness, like flu, or a simple ulcer on the skin, would lead to death due to the deterioration of immunity systems of our bodies and absence of any medicines.

A doctor used to visit us every two or three days, and used to ask a typical question: “Who of you is sick?” No one will dare raise his hand out of fear from the doctor whom we called the butcher, because any one who dares raise his hand to say he is sick will be beaten to death by the doctor.

In one of the days of visits, jailers came to call those of us required for a visit. The jailer opened the little window on the door and called the name of one of us. We all were kneeling down, faces to the wall, and only the prefect has the right to answer. He didn’t hear the jailer well, and begged him to repeat the name: “Yes sir?” The jailer didn’t understand that the prefect didn’t hear the name well, he thought that the prefect said that the prisoner is present in the dormitory. He opened the door to take him out. The prefect repeated the question, when he heard the name well, he said that the prisoner is not in our dormitory. The jailer burst in anger accusing the prefect of mocking him. He laid him down on his back, called four prisoners to hold his hands and legs, threatening anyone of them to take his place if he releases a hand or a leg. The jailer started beating the prefect and jumping on his chest, until he fainted. He ordered pouring cold water on his body to be sure that he died. When they pour water on the prisoner he didn’t move, his body remained motionless, so he ordered us to put him in the bath room. After a short time, we realized that our colleague was still alive. We changed his clothes, wiped his blood and took care of him. In that same night his chest swelled large and he died.

One of the most tragic events was about having our hair cut. When they want us to have our hair cut, they used to throw three or four hair cutting machines linked to one wire from the little window of the door. After we use them, they give them to the next dormitory and so on. One day they gave the order: “All should have their hair cut” but they did not bring the machines.

Prefect of the dormitory informed jailers that no machines were brought to us. The reply was a new order: “Do it the way you like!” But how?!! Some of the prisoners believed that this will mean nothing because the order is illogical, others were afraid of the results. We broke some ceramic tiles from the walls of the bath room and started shortening the hair of each other as much as we can. When they came the following day and found that we haven’t done it the right way, they ordered prefects of the dormitories to get out to the corridor and started beating them mercilessly until two or three of them died. Again, they repeated the order: “Tomorrow all should have their hair cut,” and they left.

We realized that the illogical threat was serious!! But what can we do now? We started plucking hair from our heads, beards and moustaches!!


Prelude the book

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