Written By Luna Watfe
Translated to English by Diane Lockyer
The witness and civil rights prosecutor Mr. Ali Ibrahim – Al-Tinawi – began the session by praying for the souls of the martyrs of the Syrian revolution and his wishes to see the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s regime overthrown on 01/09/2021.
Mr Ali Ibrahim continued explaining how he began organizing and planning the movement against the regime at the beginning of the revolution in 2011 within his region of Al-Zabadani in the countryside of Damascus in cooperation with activists in Damascus and organized via Internet and Facebook.
On the May 2nd at around 5 a.m. the witness was in contact with activists in Damascus, when suddenly all the ground and cell contacts were cut off. He could hear the sound of gunfire from afar and could see army and security cars moving towards his city. Snipers could be seen lying on the roofs of buildings.
The witness realised he would not be able to escape, so he burned all his documents and erased a lot of data from his computer and prepared himself for the moment they would enter which soon happened.
They surrounded the entire city, raided homes, and arrested the witness and others, estimated at between 100 and 150 civilians, some of whom were not even active in the movement. Some of those who were arrested were also beaten violently, even in front of their wives and families, one of them even had severe injuries to his face, but none of them were killed in this campaign, as confirmed by the witness.
The witness was able to estimate the number of detainees in the campaign who left the prison with him after that because they were from the same area and he knew them. But during the military campaign he did not know the exact number of those arrested because, as he said, entire families were arrested from the age of seventeen to eighty year old Omar.
Those who were arrested were divided into two teams: the first team was initially taken to a battalion called the Suicide Bombers, affiliated with the Fourth Division, and then to Damascus to the Al-Khatib Branch. The witness was with the second team who were taken immediately to Damascus to the Al-Khatib Branch. On their way, they were subjected to beatings and insults of all kinds which continued until they reached the al-Khatib branch where they were beaten and insulted once again while they were handcuffed and blindfolded in their own clothes.
The witness told the judges about the physical search and detainees stripped in front of each other. Then they were put in the prison yard and summoned for interrogation immediately one by one.
When the witness was summoned for interrogation, the interrogator asked him a few questions, and then he was placed on the ground. The officers then beat him with a quad cable, mainly on his feet but they also hit other parts of his body and it went on for about an hour. He was interrogated twice in the Al-Khatib Branch alone and in both investigations the purpose was to give the names of other people. When he refused, the witness confirmed that there was some kind of movement between the investigator and the officers that made them start beating and torturing him each time the investigator was not satisfied with his answer.
The witness also spoke about the cell which was overcrowded with detainees, and all of whom were beaten but he was unable to identify the types of torture that other detainees were subjected to because nobody wanted to talk about it. He did mention though an unforgettable situation of a father who was tortured in front of his son.
Mr. Al-Tinawi did not recognize the “accused” and did not even want to look at him so the judges asked him to confirm once again that he did not know him even though he had refused to look at him in the hall. He explained to them that he had not seen anyone in the Al Khatib branch because they had been prevented from seeing anyone and were blindfolded all the time, so he was certain that he did not know him.
The witness remained in the al-Khatib branch for about five days, and then he was transferred to the Kafr Sousa branch, where the interrogation began all over again. The interrogation was obviously accompanied with torture as well.
Subsequently, he was released after about twenty-five days from the court in the al Zabadani area following a presidential pardon, as the judge informed them.