The Associated Press reports: A prominent Palestinian writer who was jailed in Syria for nearly three weeks described the facilities as “human slaughterhouses,” saying security agents beat detainees with batons, crammed them into stinking cells and tied them to beds at night.
Salameh Kaileh, 56, was arrested April 24 on suspicion of printing leaflets calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is fighting a 15-month-old uprising against his rule. Kaileh’s story offers a rare inside glimpse into the conditions faced by detainees held by the country’s feared security services.
“It was hell on earth,” Kaileh told The Associated Press on Sunday, nearly a week after Syrian forces released him and deported him to Jordan. Speaking at his friend’s home in an Amman suburb, Kaileh had bluish-red bruises on his legs, which he said were the result of beatings with wooden batons that were studded with pins and nails.
“I felt I was going to die under the brutal, savage and continuous beating of the interrogators, who tied me to ropes hung from the ceiling,” said Kaileh, a soft-spoken man with a shock of white hair who appeared frail, barely able to stand on his feet.
Born in Birzeit, West Bank, Kaileh has suffered under the regime in Damascus before. He was imprisoned by the Syrian government in 1992 for eight years because of his alleged links to underground Syrian communist and leftist opposition groups. A well-known leftist, he has written books on subjects ranging from Marxism to Arab nationalism.
This time, he was held in at least four detention centers after security forces arrested him at his home in Damascus, the Syrian capital where he’s lived for more than 30 years.
Kaileh denied printing the leaflets, which he said angered the regime because they read: “For Palestine to be free, Syria’s regime has to fall.”
Syria often has touted its support of the Palestinian cause to boost its credentials as a bastion of Arab nationalism.