A former female detainee of a brutal security branch in Syria has told Zaman al-Wasl of her experience of torture and the systematic rape of activists inside the prison.
Om Ahmed’s husband was killed in the battles of Southern Damascus, where she stayed to support the fighters who looked after her and treated her as a sister.
On her way home from a visit to her brother in Kiswa, she was arrested by regime security forces and moved to al-Khatib Detention Center, a facility of the Interior Security Department.
Imprisoned for three months, Om Ahmed underwent haunting traumas. "They regularly burned women's bodies with hot poles while hanging them from their hands for hours," Om Ahmed said.
The former detainee was subjected to torture, as security members wanted information about the rebels’ details and locations. "They used to drop cold water on my head and body, then hit me. I was hanged from my hands many times on the “Ghost”, where they tried to humiliate me. However the torture I received was not comparable to what other women faced".
"An officer broke my finger by closing the door on it. All I can remember is that they called him Ali, but I cannot remember his face – as we were not allowed to look at officers’ faces”, she painfully detailed. Om Ahmed mentioned that security members tended to rape virgins, while other girls were often raped by groups of men.
Om Ahmed reported that a 19-year-old girl from Southern Damascus suffered from heavy bleeding because of the frequent rape she was subjected to. “Doctors visited the prison in cases of bleeding after rape. I met doctors, one was a good man as he transferred girls to hospitals, while another was tough and cruel, swearing at girls and women”, Om Ahmed recalled.
The former prisoner reported that one woman fell pregnant inside the prison, only to be taken away following the discovery. Her fate is still unknown. Om Ahmed confirmed that girls as young as 10 were in the prison, also subjected to similar torture. The woman claimed that security members used to cooperate with shabeeha, providing them imprisoned girls for money.
Om Ahmed was later transferred to Sasaa’s prison where she stayed for 20 days, tortured and humiliated. “Security members described us as ‘traitors’, where their military boots had more honor than us,” she said.