Unfortunately, not all of the revolutionaries who have ended up in Assad’s prisons have lived to tell their stories, but many of them have. The tales they tell of physical and psychological torture have often left scars that will take a long time to heal.
Omar was only 17 when he was arrested for his involvement in the peaceful protests in his hometown of Banyas.
On Nov. 16, 2012, Omar says he had gone to his aunt’s house in Al Bayda after Friday prayer.
Assad regime’s Air Force Security officers arrived at the house and arrested Omar and three of his cousins — Rashad, Basheer and Nour, all in their early twenties.
The four cousins were first taken to a detention center in Banyas where they were tortured and forced to make up stories to satisfy their tormentors.
Because Nour was with them, the three male cousins were treated more harshly in order to humiliate and break their spirits in front of her.
The jails in Banyas and Tartus were fairly empty when Omar and his cousins were there so the guards amused themselves with torturing their prisoners in a variety of ways.
The torture was conducted while the prisoners were blindfolded. Omar was hung by his cuffed hands and tortured with electricity until he agreed to talk.
Omar’s torturer asked him if he had been sufficiently “cooked” and when he said yes, his body was lowered and he was asked how many officers he had killed in his village.
Omar’s answer was; “Look at my face, I am 17 yrs old. Do you think I am capable of killing any officers?”
Angered by his response, the guard hung him up again and proceeded to electrocute him on different parts of his body, including his genitals.
There was also some type of fluid that was applied to his neck with a cotton ball which increased the effect of the electrical charge to an unbearable extent.
Omar said he was so delirious with pain that he would have confessed to anything — that his father was the one who killed many officers and his mother was the one who brought down their plane — just to stop the pain. But he was unable to speak.
When he was finally able to speak again, Omar began reciting the names of people he knew who were already well-known criminals.
Omar also says that those who had been tortured in Assad’s prisons were often given injections of drugs that allowed them to talk freely and must be excused for things they don’t remember saying.
Every night the cousins would whisper to each other from their cells. If one of them failed to respond, the others would fear they were dead.
They also compared stories about how each of them had been tortured. Basheer told Omar how they had opened a wound on his foot with a screwdriver.
Omar was moved 11 times; from detention centers in Banyas, to Tartus, to Homs, to Damascus and then to Al Qabun.
From Al-Qabun he was sent to the notorious Sednaya prison where he was held for one month before being referred to the military court.
The court sent him to the 291 “Death Branch” for one terrible day of indescribable torture before he was sent to 215 military prison where he was kept for the remainder of his detainment.
At 215 he was taken to the basement and examined by a doctor.
Omar said the prisoners he saw around him looked like skeletons. They huddled together and there were lots of dead and semi dead bodies on the floor with smelly wounds that oozed with infection.
After four days of wandering with no place to sit, an officer began questioning Omar about his cousin Nour and where she had supposedly gotten explosive materials for making bombs.
Omar eventually learned by word of mouth that his cousins were also being held in 215.
On March, 2013, Omar’s cousin Rashad died under torture. Rashad’s brother Basheer was so worried about how he would tell his mother that Rashad was dead when he got out.
He need not have worried for Basheer also died from pneumonia while still in prison in 2014.
Omar says that a fellow prisoner, a sheikh named Yasser Abdul Kareem, helped him and the other prisoners to maintain their sanity. He was their psychologist, their nurse, their spiritual advisor, their everything Omar said.
During his time in 215 Omar’s job was to record the numbers of the dead bodies and help dispose of them. He said the number had reached over 8,000 while he was there.
When four of their fellow prisoners were shot during an attempted jailbreak, their bodies were left where they fell for a week and then hung up as an example to the rest.
The prisoners were responsible for throwing the bodies of the dead unto the truck that came around each week to pick them up… Omar says the bodies sometimes fall apart as they tried to lift them.
Omar recalls that one of the men they were supposed to dispose of was still breathing. The guard forced them to throw him onto the pile of dead bodies anyways.
June 11, 2015, Omar was released. The prison guards had begun accepting bribes from family members of prisoners in exchange for their release.
It wasn’t until after his release that Omar learned his father had also been martyred during the Banyas massacre in 2013.
Omar is one of the fortunate refugees who managed to make his way into Europe through Turkey and Greece.
He is currently undergoing treatment for Tuberculosis in Sweden and says that no one comes out of Syria’s Branch 215 prison physically or mentally whole.
Orient Net – Yasser Ashkar Publication Date: 2016-04-20 11:00
Article from: http://orient-news.net/en/news_show/109666/0/The-ordeal-of-a–year-old-Syrian-in-Assads-detention-centers