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In presence of American investigators, ex-detainee narrates detention story

DETAINEES | 2016-11-10 09:12:49
In presence of American investigators, ex-detainee narrates detention story

(Zaman Al Wasl)- In a secret prison of two floors north of Ayn al-Arab city, Mohamed Abu Hasan spent around 4 months after his arrest by Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia under charges of being affiliated with ISIS. The interrogation was carried out by both Kurd and American investigators.

Abu Hasan, a nickname whom he used for private reasons, described the discrimination again Arab detainees in comparison with Kurd detainees who got released few days after their arrest. On the other hand, the Arab detainees especially those from Sareen, al-Qaryateen and Tal Abyad and neighboring villages, they only get released after they spent four months in detention. Sometimes, they stay in detention for 7 months.

On June 3 2016, ISIS armed men entered a store selling cigarettes in Manbij and arrested store keeper Abu Hasan on charges of selling and promoting smoking. İn the next day of his detention in a cell, he was transported with tens of detainees to al-Bab city fearing the siege of Manbij. He was released after 20 days. As soon as he got released, he moved to Manbij countryside which is under control of (SDF) through a smuggling road between olive trees and fields.

Abu Hasan says, “When I arrived to an area called Shwayha located 3 km from besieged Manbij, I was stopped on a checkpoint for (SDF) because my ID says I am from al-Safira city which Kurds are angry with.”

He adds, “I was taken to a temporary prison in Tishreen Dam area and there they assaulted me with beatings until they broke part of my nose and the blood spilled intensively. They beat me on my right ear until I lost hearing for 20 days and still have hearing problems. The prisoners proposed they deal with me in exchange for not accusing me of being ISIS member although I clarified I was former detainee at ISIS with evidence. However, they were not convinced and they brought people wearing special masks to identify them if they were ISIS or not.”

After that, Abu Hasan was transferred to Ayn al-Arab prison which is controlled by Kurds and American force and the prison was a school of two floors and a big basement.

The prison included 6 collective cells. İn each cell, there were 80 prisoners. The fourth cell is divided into individual cells for more than 25 people. He was put in the school basement.

The prison was secretive as our talker says. The prisoners would ask detainees during break to lower their voice because the city population if they know they were there, they would not wait to understand that they have no connection with ISIS. They will storm the prison and kill you since most of them lost a member in their family by ISIS. The cars which transformed the detainees were covered with white covers and not military so it would not be noticeable for the population in the area.

During Abu Hasan’s detention in Ayn al-Arab prison, there were a number of Kurd and American investigators and would take shifts in interrogating him. After the American investigator interrogates him, he would remain for 25 days without interrogation and then another round begins again by Kurd investigators and their names were, as he says, al-Haji, Oso, Ali Abu Sahar, Bankeen who is a head of department subordinate to the branch in Sareen town.

Our talker confirmed the American investigator had a special room in which he interrogates the detainees through an Iraqi interpreter and when he does not like the honesty of the detainee, he would start cursing and threaten to move the detainee to the guys with muscles.

Abu Hasan revealed the detainees during the American interrogation would be blindfolded with a leather piece and someone would hit something soft with a big stick to produce a violent sound behind the detainee who is standing. This makes the detainees very scared and stressed.

The American investigator, according to Abu Hasan, was a lot better than the Kurds since most of them do not document the detainee’s name in their records until they are healed from beatings to avoid showing the detainees in bad shape in front of the American investigator because the American investigator requests the name of the detainee from the prison records and does not know what is inside the rooms.

The former detainee narrated that a person claimed to be manager of the prison and he is Iraqi citizen according to what he knew after he entered the detention of Ayn al-Arab and he asked to divide those who were interrogated and those who did not as Abu Hasan says. then the Iraqi officer started to stare at the detainees’ faces and ask them about the charges for which they were arrested and most detainees did not know what their charges were. The officer would get very annoyed when someone would tell him he was arrested during passing on a checkpoint.

Our talker continued, “when my turn came and before he asked me about my charge, just because I told him I am born in al-Safira, he cursed me and beat me and said, “you are the ones who killed Kobani people, you are all ISIS”.’’

Some detainees who were proved to have affiliation with ISIS were better off than the rest of detainees, as he confirms, those were not blindfolded during interrogation, but would sit very safely smoking with and drinking tea during interrogation. But those who were not proved ISIS affiliate were treated very badly.

During 119 days of his detention on ungrounded charges, Abu Hasan was exposed to three interrogation sessions and every time, they would say to him the previous interrogation was cancelled because the investigator moved to another place. In the last time, a group of investigators came and it was said they were from the military court and they asked detainees to choose one charge and threatened detainees in order not to mention they were arrested and detained for walking in the road.

After Abu Hasan spent about four months in detention, his release paper was signed and he spent more than 10 days in isolation room with 55 people until he was released with a loud media campaign in which Kurds bragged about their democracy with holes of discrimination according to Abu Hasan. He added that he heard his release with 56 other detainees and it was announced on Kurdish Rohana channel saying they released the detainees because they were proved not involved with ISIS.
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