(Zaman Al Wasl)- Dr. Hussein al-Sibrani, a former political prisoner in the Syrian regime prisons for 10 years, has been working in clinic in Zatari camp, trying to forget 10 years he had lost of his life in prison.
He at the moment lives in the Jordanian city of Irbid, 100 k away from Zatari camp.
He studies medicine in the University f Aleppo, and was arrested while he was still student, he was transferred from Aleppo central prison to Adra then to Palmyra military prison.
Al-Sibrani was brought up in a poor family in the village of Jasim in Daraa countryside, he worked since he was 13 years old in farming, he joined the faculty of medicine in Aleppo University in 1981, he worked in political activity, especially in the period after the Muslim Brotherhoods events and the incident of “Artillery School” and his activity increased till 1985, especially after the beginning if the economical crisis in Syria.
The political security at the time had broken into the canteen many times to arrest political activists, and al-Sibrani was one of them, but he managed to run away many times, till 1987 as he was arrested near al-Baladi Stadium in Daraa, after two years of melting away and abandoning his university and his home town, then he was taken to Aleppo Branch of the political security.
“In my way to Aleppo, I kept looking at trees, roads, gardens and neighbourhoods, as if I was seeing them for the last time”. He painfully remembered.
Then he described the moment he entered the branch of political security: “once I put my foot in, I received a very strong hit on my face, I lost my balance after, then had a round of torturing, then I was taken to a cell,where I was tortured and interrogated many times, , they asked me about my connection to the “Labours’ Party”, which I had not been a member of , but many of its members were my friends, and I participated with them in many activities”.
Al-Sibani detailed that the following day, he sneaked around, and discovered that many of University students were in the branch, many of them were his friends.
In one of the interrogation setting, he was asked about some leaflets were taken from his house, but he refused to confess. Then he was put on “Bisat al-Rih” which is a torture method, consists of a board has the shape of the body with a hinge at the lower back level, and when a prisoner is put on it, his hand are pulled to his feet, which caused huge pain.
After 13 days of torturing, al-Sibrani was gathered with other prisoners, then they were taken to the central prison of Aleppo, were he spent four and a half years, during which he was subject to huge emotional and psychological pressure, for example, he was deprived of his parents’ visits for a year. But according to him, there was no physical torturing in the prison, any one made troubles, he was sent to the political security branch where he tortured and humiliated then brought back.
In 1992, prisoners were offered to be released on condition to be informers to the regime and sign an “infiltrator declaration”, but he refused to do so, although many prisoners agreed.
In the end of 1993, al-Sibrani was transferred to Adra prison, then they were taken to court, as the case of customary prisoners in Syria was internationally highlighted after the first Gulf war.
Many Arab and Syrian lawyers offered defending prisoners, but due to regime’s rejection to hand then detailed of interrogation reports and to illegal official procedures on courts, lawyers boycotted courts and protested against the regime, therefore, prisoners were presented to courts without defence lawyers.
Al-Sibrani and other prisoners were accused of being enemies to the principles March, 8th revolution and the Socialist regime, besides trying to overthrow the regime, and circulation false rumours against the country.
In 1995, the prison of Adra had a similar offer like Aleppo prison, but this time they offered prisoners to publish a “thank you” card to the president Hafiz al-Assad in order to free them, but he refused and said “Hafiz al-Assad needs to apologise for us for keeping us in prison all that time without a trail or clear reason, he was tortured subsequently.
After few days, he with 18 prisoners were transferred to the prison of Palmyra, where he spent two and a half years.
"We were forced to keep our sight down, well known opposition figure Yasin Haj- Saleh was with us, he was tortured because he looked up”
In the prison he and all prisoner were tortured and hit with something new and caused too much pain, then he managed to see it, it was too heavy as the jailer needed to hold it in both his hands to raise it.
The food according to al-Sibrani was too bad, only bulgur cooked with water and some red soup, in best condition, they were give 10 olives. Sometime they were given 10 pieces of potatoes or carrot or egg planet for the who cell.
After two and a half years, he was released from Palmyra prison, then he was taken to the political security branch in Aleppo, where he was treated in a slightly better, then he went back to his village Jasim, where he was changed a lot than the moment he left it 10 years before.