“What criminal Dr. Alaa Mousa committed is the normal practice in Assad regime’s military hospitals and some of the regime’s civilian hospitals,” writes Muneer Al Faqeer, an eye-witness who was detained in an Air Force Security Branch prison.
Al Faqeer commenting on the start of the trial of Dr. Ala Mousa in Germany says that Dr. Mousa’s trial “will only be the beginning of the iceberg collapse to expose the crimes of the regime’s medical sector.”
In an article published in Raseef22, Al Faqeer expresses his strong belief that this is the case in all military hospitals such as Hospital 601, Al Shaqfa Hospital, Tishreen Hospital, Harasta Hospital, among others and that this trial is a necessary but insufficient entry point to criminalize this sector professionally and morally, and to hold it accountable in the future within a system of transitional justice.
In his article, Al Faqeer cites a number of examples of the way regime officials deal with patient detainees and how they were tortured in the very places where they were supposed to get best treatment. All the incidents Al Faqeer speaks about took place in Hospital 601 as he was an eye-witness.
“I cannot forget the story of Abu Bassam, whose feet the doctor decided to amputate due to the persistence of infection in them, although it was still superficial, and did not reach the stage of gangrene,” Al Faqeer says.
Every time prisoners arrive to the military hospital, they are received with “some jerks and kicks,” by Air Force Security Branch men headed by a person who named himself Azrael (angel of death).
“I shall discover that dead bodies are seldom isolated and dragged elsewhere, and I slept more than once among the corpses of young men dying in the evening; my body against theirs all night,” Al Faqeer’s testimony goes on.
Al Faqeer recalls the case of a prisoner named Ahmed who had some medical equipment in his leg removed without anaesthesia. The sound of Ahmad’s yelling was all over the hospital but, Al Faqeer says, Ahmad was not seen again.
“There were patients suffering from terrifying enlargement of the testicles, reaching a terrifying size, almost the size of a large eggplant, with severe inflammation; they were left to die.”
Al Faqeer writes about many other cases, perhaps the simplest of which is the case of Muhannad, a young man from Idlib who suffered from diabetes. His health deteriorated in the detention centre and soon he was left to die. “Muhannad is only one of dozens of young men we used to bid farewell to every day in the damned hospital, who were falling quietly like withered roses, with the deliberate recklessness of the medical staff of Bashar Assad’s regime, and in many cases by deliberately liquidating them,” Al Faqeer goes on to say.
“During the day, an interrogator from the Air Force Security Branch comes to complete the interrogation of a patient by slapping and beating, accompanied and assisted by the nurse. Sometimes the interrogator asks to transfer a patient to an adjacent interrogation room, where he brutally interrogates the patient by beating him on spots of injury, pouring boiling water on him, and so on,” the written testimony concludes.