Written By Luna Watfa
Translated to English by Diane Lockyer
The report for 29/09/21 session at the hearing of Anwar Raslan deals with a political activist unable to attend who described physical torture but also psychological manipulation and torture in Al-Khatib.
An investigator from the Federal Criminal Police came to the court to speak about the statements of one of their witnesses who was unable to appear in court himself. The investigator said that al-Shahed had been a political activist since 1987 and as a result he had always been confronted with problems because of his history. He was arrested twice by the Al-Arbaeen Branch and transferred to Al-Khatib Branch: the first was in May 2011 due to his participation in and organizing of demonstrations, when his detention lasted for a month, twenty-five days of them spent in Al-Khatib Branch alone. The second was at the end of 2012 when he was released at the beginning of 2014.
Regarding the first arrest, the witness told the criminal police investigators that he knew Raslan’s name through the detainees’ conversations, as they used to mention his name with fear and wished he would not be the investigator responsible for them because he was a violent person. After that, the witness learned the name of the “accused” through the Syrian opposition.
He also told them about the difficult prison conditions, the large numbers of detainees, and the unhealthy conditions in terms of eating, drinking and sleeping which was consistent with the testimonies of what other witnesses had narrated.
During his interrogation in al-Khatib Branch 251, the witness was beaten. He also described the psychological manipulation he was subjected to when one of the guards entered while another was torturing the witness. The guard told him not to torture the witness because he was a friend of theirs. He also talked about psychological torture when he could hear the voices of others being tortured and thinking he would be the next one.
The witness mentioned his vision of the torture method called “shabeh”, as he saw detainees hanging with bruises on their bodies. He also witnessed other forms of torture and spoke of seeing the use of the “falaqa” method, beating detainees with sticks, cables, and electric shocks. When they asked him if he had seen dead bodies in the Al-Khatib branch, the witness answered in the negative.
During his second arrest, the witness remained detained for about a year with six months in Al-Khatib Branch alone. When comparing the two arrests, the witness told them the first was almost negligible compared to the second one.
Because the witness was from the old Opposition, he was taken to the office of the head of the Khatib Branch, Tawfiq Yunis, who told him that he should cooperate with them.
The session with the criminal police investigator at the Koblenz Court lasted for no more than an hour and a quarter in all.