Enduring Assad’s Prisons

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — “She wrestles with demons. The memories of her nine-month imprisonment and the beatings and abuse she suffered at the hands of a Syrian interrogator still burn inside her. Now that she’s in southern Turkey. She works as a journalist under an assumed name. And she prefers living with other women who understand the humiliation she went through. Others, as she knows only too well, suffered worse than she did the harsh regime of Bashar al-Assad’s prisons and secret detention centers…

Rowaida Yousef, as she calls herself, used to be a math teacher and citizen journalist in Damascus…

In Adraa prison Yousef had the opportunity to hear the stories of more than a hundred women. “I heard many accounts of women being raped in Damascus by Shabiha after they had been picked up at checkpoints or at buildings they controlled, and before they were handed over to the security branches,” says Yousef. “But I didn’t hear accounts of rapes in the official security detention centers in Damascus.” The picture is different in Homs and Aleppo, she says.”

You can read my dispatch for the Daily Beast here.

One thought on “Enduring Assad’s Prisons

  1. Dear Jamie. I am a British journalist working in America for the past 50 years. I just wanted to tell you that your father, Charles Dettmer, is mentioned in my soon to be published autobiography, Anything for a Headline. He was my news editor on a Surrey paper, giving me the job when he was a Saturday sub on the Sunday People. He and I had some great times together, scrapping in the office, he with his one arm, and giving as good as he got, him riding on the back of my motorcycle when I couldn’t find lead stories in my district; him coming with me to dig out the news. I still think back on him with huge affection. And I’m interested to see his name above your column. Just wanted to fill you in on my past with your dad. I’m 82 now, so it’s all a very long time ago. I lost track of Charles’ career and wondered if you could take a moment to tell me what happened to him

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