The family of the former spokesman for Jaysh al-Islam (“Army of Islam”), Majdi Nehme, known as Islam Alloush, has reactivated his case in the media through a statement published on social media platforms, in which it said that their son, who has been arrested in France since January 2020, is being subjected to psychological and physical torture.
The statement pointed out that the family believed that the reason for the arrest of their son was related to the disappearance of human rights activist Razan Zeitouneh and her companions, only to later find out that the arrest is related to his joining Jaysh al-Islam, which was active in eastern Ghouta in the countryside of Damascus.
The statement, published in a series of tweets, added that Alloush “was detained for 10 months, during which he was prevented from communicating with his family, and during that time he was subjected to physical and psychological torture.”
The family said that none of them was able to travel to France to communicate with Alloush and check on him, indicating that he was tortured “in the most horrific of ways that almost led to his death.”
The French authorities arrested Alloush in late January of last year, shortly after he arrived in the country to conduct research on the armed movement in Syria after he had received a scholarship.
Seven members of the Zeitouneh family and three non-governmental organizations, including the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, filed a legal complaint last year with the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor in France.
The three organizations said in a statement that “Alloush is also suspected of being involved in recruiting children,” noting that “a number of victims accused him of kidnapping and torture as well.”
In their statement, the family considered that the arrest was based on “malicious charges that seek to take revenge rather than a commitment to seek the truth.”
Jaysh al-Islam is accused of committing systematic international crimes against civilians between 2013 and 2018 in eastern Ghouta, including the kidnapping and torture of human rights lawyer Razan Zeitouneh and Samira Khalil, among others.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.