'One of my indelible memories is the date of my arrest: January 10 2014. It was a Friday morning. I went in through the door of the Criminal Security Branch. I just walked along, listening to the sounds they were all making. I stood in the corridor for quarter of an hour, then I went into a room where there were two people. They both started to hit me. I didn’t know why they were beating me, and I started to think about them: ‘This must be their way of welcoming us to make sure we’re scared from the very beginning – but I wonder what’s gonna happen next?’ They used an electric cattle prod on me, punched and kicked me, and when they’d finished with me they took me out of the room and had me stand again.
I was subjected to torture three times a day, each of them exactly the same: an extremely cold shower. The interrogator would say to me ‘Good morning . . . I’ve got a cold shower here, so be my guest, have a shower and have a think.’ He would turn the shower on, put me under it, and leave. It occurred to me that I might turn into someone with a fear of showering, after I got out of detention. I began to be scared from the onset of physical torture.
Someone from the Syrian Electronic Army was brought in, who didn’t even know how to open my account. This person was examining my Facebook account and saw a chat message to me from a user called ‘Aleppo Liberation Front’. All it contained was a single phrase, the standard greeting ‘Peace be with you’ which I hadn’t ever answered. The investigator said to me, ‘You are involved with fronts in Aleppo, and you are acting as a pair of eyes for your brother who is wanted by the Political Security Branch and who left you in Syria so you could be a spy and tell him everything.’