Family of ‘Nobody’ .. Memories of a political prisoner


Enab Baladi Issue # 87 – Sun, Oct. 20, 2013
سجون ومعتقلاتBaylasan Omar – Enab Baladi

After a full year spent at Mazze Military Airport (the main air force branch in Damascus), Ahmad was transferred to the central prison of Adra to get retained for another four months. Thereafter, he was set free from that prison to get detained in a bigger and more serious prison. When Ahmad was at the immigration centre trying to get a passport, he was shocked that his passport couldn’t be issued. As a former detainee, his name had got flagged, and he had got prevented from travelling. In order to sort that out, he needed to get back to the air forces- branch where he had been detained.

Ahmad is a student at the faculty of civil engineering. He got detained at a checkpoint at the entry of Damascus when he was heading to his university. He was accused of belonging to a “terrorist” family! All his guilt was that his name matches a “wanted-criminal” named Ahmad, and therefore, he got detained for a year and four months. Even though detectives at the air-forces branch knew about that “awful” crime, they haven’t thought of releasing him as long as the “wanted Ahmad” hadn’t been found yet. Although Ahmad had survived all forms of torture, an open wound in his leg couldn’t get healed yet and is still causing him a lot of pain.

At his first moment of freedom, Ahmad recalled that moment before detention when he insisted to go out despite his mothers’ entreaty to stay. While he was fully convinced that he cannot get charged when he is completely uninvolved in any crime, his mother was trying to remind him that security forces don’t exempt anybody from detention even if innocent.

Ahmad was not accustomed to miss his classes at university. Therefore, convincing him not to go out was mission impossible. A long argument took place between Ahmad and his mother followed by a louder quarrel had led to neighborhood intervention to ask about reasons and then to stop it. A moment of truth was when Ahmad ignored his mother’s begging and was about to leave. His mother, who lost her husband and her older son, desperately gave it a last try and said “my dearest son, what are you going to do when you pass by one of the checkpoints and they ask for your identification? You know that our family youths are all wanted. You also know that all family has been repeatedly threatened to be killed. Son, they may kill you at the checkpoint and your body will be thrown for the stray monsters!”

His mothers’ words and fears had increased Ahmad’s anger alongside his insistence to leave. He cruelly asked his mother to rip apart that approval of his belonging to that family who earned the regime’s anger. Ahmad had replied to his mother’s questions saying that “I am going to tell them that I belong to the family of “nobody”. After that he got arrested at a checkpoint at the main junction of Daraya city, and was detained for a year and four months. His detention’s accusation was “names’ mutuality”.

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