My name is mohammed majid shakir, born in 1970 in Iraq. Im married with four children, but I haven’t seen them or had any news from them in nearly seven years. I miss them so much but all praises to Allah(swt), if this is my destiny. What follows are some details about my case and why I am in prison. It seems that to be muslim is a crime.
I arrived in Italy in 1998 where I was given political asylum. On the 4th April 2003 I was arrested by the secret service in Syria, but only a few days after this (9th April 2003 ). The Syrians said that I am in prison because I am accused of International Terrorism and have been arrested on behalf of the Italians. I spoke to the captain of the secret service and he told me the only reason I was arrested was because of charges brought by the Italians. He said they have no issues with me in Syria. When I was arrested, all the big Italian newspapers (Republica, Corriere Della serra ) published my arrest as if it was a victory for them.
Before my arrest, on the 31st March 2003 the Italians had arrested many muslims in the north of Italy, between Parma and Milan. (one brother was a Somali from England, the other was called Mostafa from Iraq, another from Egypt and another fro Tunisia). After this, the Italian authority sent to the Syrian authorities a warrant of arrest against me, accusations being helping muslim brothers to enter Iraq to fight against the USA and against the democratic Iraqi government. This accusation is false and I haven’t got any proof, because I am innocent. Now, I will tell you of my life in the cruel prisons in Syria.
When I was arrested in Damascus, I was in Hell prison of the secret services and under investigation. The name of the prison is Palestine Prison and it is on Palestine Street. This prison uses the same methods of torture like Abu Ghraib. For example, they make everyone stay naked in their cells and they are beaten savagely. I remained in Syrian prisons for 2 Years and 10 months.
At Palestine Prison, The cell was very small, 1 meter 50 cm High, and 70cm Width. Theres no windows, covers or blankets. It’s a very old prison, and all the cells are underground. Nobody visited us here and no-one knew our news. If you have any money, they stole it from you, especially if it is dollars or euros. If you want shampoo, soap,bread or oil, it is the guards who are responsible for obtaining these items. They control the items like a mafia, and they charge extortionate prices for even simple goods. The commanding officers (head guards) also steal from you and do not permit you any items except for huge bribes.
If you want a shower, you are only permitted for one minute. If you take more than one minute, then if you take two minutes they beat you hard. However, if you want a two minute shower you can give the guard 2 tins of sweets or 2 tins of sardines. If you don’t have these you will be beaten. One time a guard was angry, so he forbade from having a shower for 3 months. He also forbade us from buying bread, oil, soap or shampoo.
I will tell you what happened to me and other brothers in terms of torture. The director of the prison was called Abdel Karim. My interrogators were Heitham and Rami. The torturers were called Colonel Giorge and his deputy, Colonel Abou Nour. Their instruments of torture were :-
a. Blasphemy. They insulted Allah(swt), his messenger(saw), and tore up the Qu’ran
b. Beating with sticks. They attacked me with a hard stick, and if I tried to defend myself they attacked me harder. Whilst this was happening, I could hear the screams of the other brothers, and they haunt me still to this day.
c. In the winter, in the cell of torture the brothers were tied to a chair by their hands and feet, and into a cell that was freezing. They put an electric fan on us in our faces from morning to afternoon.
In the whole time there, there was never a doctor. We used to pray all the time for Allah(swt) not to make us sick, because we did not have even any medication. Two brothers died from tuberculosis, one from Iraq and another from Syria. The food was so bad we could not even swallow it. The cells were so cold in Winter, Spring and Autumn because the cells were underground.
After two years and forty-five days of this secret service imprisonment, they have transferred me to another prison. This prison was called “Bab El Mossala”. I stayed there for 8 months. After this I was transferred to the Interpol (international) prison for one day, and the day after they extradited me to Italy on the plane of the Italian secret service on 27th January 2006 and I arrived in Milan. On arrival I was convicted under 270 bis laws in Italy for international terrorism and sentenced to 10 years.
The Italian authorities knew I was in prison in Syria, because the Italian consular officials visited me there, with an Arabic translator from Syria. I asked why he didn’t help me when he knew I had an Italian passport after being awarded asylum. He told me its not his problem and he took the documents away from me. After I spoke to the Syrian commander, the commander told me it was Italy who were holding me and if they sent a letter to release me, they would release me immediately. I paid $200 to the commander to contact the Ministry of Interior in Italy, but after a few weeks they extradited me to Italy anyway. I was in Syrian prisons at request of the Italian authorities. Despite the fact I was in prison because of the Italians, they refuse to even give me remission of my sentence due to time served in Syria and take this sentence away from my sentence in Italy. They refused my request even though this is my right.
Please can you let Strasbourg court know what is happening.
Mohamed Majid Shakir