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Memo from Assad's Torture Chambers

The broken-hearted mother of 23-year-old Hussam Khayat has recounted the tragedy of losing her son
Memo from Assad's Torture Chambers

"[They told me my] son had been arrested and tortured to death, then asked in cold blood to take his body from the hospital. Oh, how lucky I am! At least I know where I can bury him," Khayat's mother says.


She couldn't recognize her son; the body was slit with knifes and burned with cigarettes. He had no nails. His face was unrecognizable after his skin and teeth had been removed.


Khayat was martyred after 13 days of arrest and torture in Syrian Intelligence chambers.


The regime said Khayat had died in clashes between regime forces and the rebels. His mother, like all parents in this situation, was forced to sign a paper saying that her son was killed by terrorists.


Khayat's story began when he refused to be blackmailed at some checkpoints. When he refused to give the officers there money, they took his identity card.  A few days later he received a phone call from State Security, or the Mukhabrat, branch no 215, asking him to present immediately to the relevant authorities.


His anxious mother insisted she go with him. She went, but wasn't allowed to enter. At the checkpoint at the entrance, the intimidating officer told her: "It is only a matter of minutes, no more."


The wait was hours, and when Hussam still hadn't emerged, the armed security man told her to go home.


"When he's out, we will call you," he said.


It was 13 long days before she received a phone call from the military hospital: "Your son has died, you can come to pick up the body."


It was a few days afterwards that Hussam's mother heard a broadcast on the regime television news.


"Our valiant forces have killed number of terrorists in the neighborhood of Jobar, one of them is Hussam Khayat," the reporter was saying.


Asma Alabed, Hussam's friend, wrote about Khayat in her blog in Canada: "Under the stress from the unfortunate conditions that forced me to leave the University of Toronto and transfer, along the way I forgot how blessed I am to be safe and surrounded by loved ones."


"My mother always says she never met her best friend, Taunt Loubna, until she moved to Michigan. I can honestly say she is one of the most good hearted, elegant women I have ever come across and it distresses me to hear of the passing of her cousin in Syria, tortured by a relentless regime that should be causing worldwide alarm," she wrote.


"I am disgusted by the brutality the Assad regime has inflicted on its people, disgusted by those who still speak in support of the regime, and disgusted to live in an era that would cause sorrow to Taunt Loubna’s family and people like Taunt Loubna who singlehandedly represent the kind of person I hope to be one day.


"I am bewildered by those who can still stand by this embarrassing excuse of a government and this obvious violation of human rights."


Edited by The Syrian Observer


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