Report on Mohammed Issam Zaglol

Mohammed Issam Zaglol, a 37 year-old qualified lawyer and human rights activist, was detained in Damascus at the Razi Hospital roadblock on October 10, 2012. He is from Al Midan, Greater Damascus, and moved to Darya sometime over the past two years. He is married and has three children ages three, ten and twelve years. At the time the violations took place they were ages unborn, seven and nine years. 

 

According to the latest news, he was at the Air Force Intelligence Branch in Meza. His wife heard that he had been moved to Seidnaya, but no one had seen him.  It was confirmed that he had been transferred to a field court in September 2014. 

The Air Force Intelligence Agency members who took him to a farm at the roadblock were in uniform.  They extorted money from him and, after a week, took him to the branch. When they called from the farm on the first day it was about 1 AM. He reported being at a farm with his friends. He said, “Don’t be scared, I’m going to spend the night away from home. Take care of the children.”

 

Over the next three days they called from his phone and demanded half a million. Afterwards they raised the amount to a million. His wife did not agree, so on the last day they said to her, “Ok, come and bring him some comfortable clothes.”  This was said in a sympathetic way, but their intention was to get his wife. They said, “Ok, we will free him for you, just come and get him. It’s better than him being tortured.”  Of course she refused. She stayed another month, but the fear never left her and she was forced to move from her house in Darayya to her parent’s home in Damascus. In September 2014 she traveled to Sweden by sea with her three children.  They arrived in Sweden in November.

 

The Charges:

There were accusations put to him when he was undergoing torture, that he was a leader of terrorist gangs in Darayya. He was forced to sign a confession to this. In February 2014, a decision was issued to seize his moveable and immovable property. 

 

This information reached his wife via a former detainee who was with Mohammed Issam. "I don’t know him, but someone connected us so he can tell me this information about my husband. He didn’t even mention his name," she said. No detainee is permitted to read his confession, but during torture they called to him, “Hey what’s-your-name, you’re the head of a gang.” This way the accused knows what he is signing to. 

 

Circumstances of Arrest:  Nobody saw his arrest, but he called his wife and told her what happened.  He was in his car coming home from the office and they took him at the roadblock. There was definitely violence inside the farm, but he didn’t say any more over the phone.  Mohammad was absolutely prevented from contacting the outside world except for the first three days at the farm, during which time he only called his wife.  After that they communicated with two friends of the lawyer Mohammad Issam. They went to give the money and were arrested on the same day. We have not received any news from them. One of their names is Ziad. Mohammad’s wife does not remember the name of the other one.  

 

Mohammed Issam was arrested twice before. The first time he was taken from his in-law’s house and detained in a branch for a week. His wife saw that his body was black and blue. The second time was on August 23, 2011.  He was detained for five months at the same branch, in the same place, with the same people. He was tortured severely for two months and lost 50 kg during this time. 

 

In Prison:

A young man who came out of prison told Mohammad's wife that, on the first day of torture, his face was mutilated. I don’t know him, but he is from my neighborhood. He experienced strange, inhumane and malicious torture.  J. H is the first and last person responsible for this torture. 

 

The Detainee's Confessions Used in Court:

Mohammad's confessions were used in the field court. Mohammad’s brother was a former judge and he contacted Issam’s judge who told him that he saw the papers that were sent to the court.