These are the commands…Memoirs of detainee


Enab Baladi Issue # 97 – Sun, Dec. 29, 2013

من مذكرات معتقلةBaylasan Umar

My friend, her mother and I had boarded a taxi on our way to Lebanon. While we were passing the Sumaria Checkpoint, they inspected the car and they asked for our identities. Then, they stopped us aside to investigate our identities. One of the officers in the checkpoint said “these are the commands because we are from Daraya”. They took our mobile phones, they inspected thoroughly and they ordered to arrest us and take us to a security branch ‘al-Jawiyah’ in the military airport at almost three o’clock in the afternoon.

Thus, Rama began her conversation, and she relayed “I read a lot about the prisons’ literature, and I surfed several sites talking about the suffering of detainees in the Syrian prisons. I also visited a number of those released prisoners, I heard their stories, and I formed a good background and information about the arrest, torture methods and dealing with the prisoners inside the Syrian prisons. When we arrived at the security office, I started to recall everything I read, and I began to I paint a scenario prior to how the process of interrogation and torture goes on. I recalled with each story I have read the feelings of dread and fear from the future.

We entered the deposit room in that security branch and we delivered what was in our possession, they gave us a receipt that recorded in details our possessions. We stood in the corridor as they were preparing to put us in a small prison cell. Inside the cell, a worker with another officer who was a captain searched us without any shame or consideration of the public morals. The process of inspecting was horrible; they justified this by saying “these are the commands”. Then, one of the officers came and took a picture of us to attach it with a file that recorded all the personal information about each one of us, and their excuse was “these are the commands”.

After that, the series of investigation with us had started, and in a waiting room one of the workers remained with us to prevent us from talking to each other and not to tall each other what is going on in the interrogation room. When my turn came around nine in the evening and the dread, from what I have recalled from my readings, had reached the summit. I entered the interrogation room, and the first thing I did that I spoke before the investigator and I asked him “do you rape us here”, he started laughing and his word was still in my ears till now “we are here to protect you… you are our honour… where did you get this talk from… we are not terrorists and the Free Army”.

I asked him to speak to my family by telephone when I saw it but he strongly refused arguing “these are the commands”, and he asked me lots of questions, including personal information, and information about my family, and then about my work, my studies, and my connection with the revolution. He also asked me about my activity on the Internet pages and social networking. I came back to the prison room, where my friend and her mother were sitting, after I was done from the investigation. When they finished investigating us, they brought us dinner (boiled potatoes, soup, green olives, and cucumber), they locked the prison room and we stayed there hearing the voices of the people who were tortured in the next room. The sound of the torture machine almost goes through our minds. We could see the men when they bring them in and out of the torture room, and the effects of torture are greatly visible on them. We also saw the process of transforming of many of the corpses of the prisoners that died under torture. We spent nearly a month there, sitting down with other women, listening to their stories and their accusations, we saw them coming back from the torture room and many of them had children.

Everything I had read about the methods of torture and ill-treatment was re-front. By the thirtieth day of our arrest, one of the workers opened the door and ordered us to get out to the deposit room and receive our possessions. The treatment was good, not in the sense the word in such a circumstance, but compared with the sounds that we heard and the scenes we saw, and the justification was “these are the commands”. They transferred us to the Justice Palace and we were waiting for the judge who ordered to release us while telling us “this time your situation was fine, you are lucky, but these are the commands; no one was allowed to hit you, torture you or even keeping you in here more than this period because we couldn’t prove anything against”. Till now, I am still confused between “these are the commands to treat other people and what we have seen” and “these are the commands to treat you” and “these are the commands to arrest us for one month without any accusation”.

Translated by Ruba Al Jarf

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