Hussein Ghureir: The Occupation to Which Damascus Was Subjected Was Shocking!

Hussein Ghureir: The Occupation to Which Damascus Was Subjected Was Shocking!
Investigations | 06 Jan 2016

Syrian blogger, Hussein Ghureir, in an exclusive interview with Rozana, says that detainees are the people who are suffering the most injustice in Syria; wishing them safety and a speedy release. He speaks of his own arrest, as well as his observations inside his prison.

In his first interview upon being released from the Syrian regime's prisons, expresses his shock at the huge number of areas which had been fully destroyed in Syria; pointing out that "the occupation to which Damascus was subjected especially shocking," he says.

The Syrian blogger explains how heand a group of comrades from the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression—were arrested in 2012. Everyone was released, save for himself, Mazen Darwish, and Hani Zitani who were detained for 3 and a half years.

Ghureir also speaks about the period during which Darwish, Zitani, and himself were put together in a single solitary confinement in [security] branch 285 for one and a half months during the last weeks of their detention. He explains how most of their conversations constantly revolved around the situation in Syria; but that they also whiled away their time playing mind games, such as "without words" as well as "truth-or-dare." He also frankly states that there had been several intellectual disagreements during their numerous debates.

As for his children, Ghureir says: "After my family departed from Syria, the news I received from them were very terse, and few and far between. I still remembered my son Ward's seventh birthday and, returning to my own childhood and remembering what I had done at this age; I was surprised that my son had grown beyond the image I had kept in my thoughts" he says, adding that since "Ever since coming out of my detention and reuniting with my children, we spend each moment re-acquainting ourseleves with one another. The image in my mind of the children is still the one which had been in my head when I entered my prison; I still haven't gotten used to that fact that Ward is now 7 years, and that Zain is four and a half years old, now."

He points to the fact that "What mostly preoccupies Syrian detainees, is the lot of their families," adding that there is a general neglect of the families' dire financial, moral, and psychological needs. "There are some detainees' families that do not know how to secure access to their loved ones, or that do not have to have the money nor the means to visit them."

Regarding his own hunger strike in prison, Ghureir says that he was not the only one who went on hunger strike. There had been 7 people who undertook this strike, with the express purpose of either being formally accused of a crime, or immediately released.

In response to a question from a listeners regarding the moment of his release from [security] detention and transfer to the [civilian] Adra prison; and how many detainees had asked him to deliver messages to their families that they are alive, Ghureir replies: "I was able to reach 100 families and reassure them that their loved ones were, indeed, alive. On a daily basis, I used to repeat the full names of the detainees [who had asked me to contact with their families]; in order not to forget their names if I were transferred to Adra prison, or released."

As for the Syrian Revolution, the Syrian blogger stresses that "hope lies in action;" the "spirit of the Syrian Revolution is still present, despite having been stolen from the Syrian people. The recent demonstrations in Sakba [in the Damascus countryside], have proven that this spirit is alive and well. No one can rule over the Syrian people as they had done in the past."

Ghureir's wife, Mays Jinniyat, accompanying him in his interview with "Roznamet Rozana," says: "I had not been surprised at Hussein's arrest. The surprise was the long period he spent in prisonwhich stressed me psychologically in the beginning," stressing that it not for one moment had she lost hope in his release from detention, and that she waited for him against all odds.

Jinniyat tells of how she and her two children managed their affairs after her husband's arrest. She especially mentions her eldest son, who was constantly asking about his father. In the beginning, she used to answer that he was travelling. Ward started making drawings of his family, that did not include his father; which prompted her to tell him of his father's detention.

Upon explaining matters to him, and visiting his father in prison, Ward made a drawing of the family with his father's image, and the words "I love you dddy, the hero." She confirms that a childno matter how young—understands what is happening in his family and should, therefore, be kept informed of all matters.

Regarding her travel outside Syria, Jinniyat says: "It is Hussein who insisted that we traveldespite my rejection of the idea. Initially, we were supposed to travel to Turkey for a brief period then return to Syria. Hussein, however, categorically refused that I return. I thus made the decision to travel to Egypt to start a new life for my children and I; as I faced many difficulties in Turkey in terms of work and the children's education. Indeed, I started working in Egypt as well as putting the children in school, until we all eventually traveled to Germany and settled there."

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