الخميس، مايو 25، 2006
By Droubi,From his cell
Here I sit at the beginning of my 3rd round of fifteen days in prison; my thoughts lingering between the principles that I stand for which brought me here, and the life that was mine and which I left behind. I try not to think too much about the pain my arrest created in the hearts of loved ones, my parents in particular, who have suffered the most from this ordeal. The thought of my mother weeping, and worst of all the tears I see in my father’s eyes as he forces a smile on his face during their weekly visit, is far more painful than anything I have ever experienced. My fear for them supercedes the pain and panic of my arrest: when I was simply kidnapped from the street, lifted from the ground by thugs, my feet in the air, my face few centimeters from the asphalt, while those (a dozen) carrying me away pushing and punching and swearing at me before starting to search me, blindfold me, tie my hands behind my back, finally dumping me into a security truck. Then, all I could hear was the cries of pain from others being dragged, and the constant threats and swearing by the security forces. There was such an extraordinary tone of hate and resentment in their voices. The fear of physical pain and the idea of having no control over anything and the desperate attempt to control one’s own thoughts were things I could have never imagined before. I had no idea who or what was around me, and any attempt to move or speak would bring an onslaught of shapes, mental threats and humiliation. Thankfully my greatest worry at that time was relieved, when for a period of five minutes no security forces were present inside the truck (they seemed to be receiving orders from their superiors) allowing a man who was crying in pain very loudly to tell me that my friend was OK. It turned out later he was the judge whose presence among us increased the media coverage of our case. He told me she had found shelter in the Judges’ Club – a sense of relief overwhelmed me. The wailing judge after making his identity clear was removed from the truck. Those of us remaining in the truck were tied and blindfolded again: my belt initially used to tie my hands was replaced by thick rough rope; my Jacket which had covered my eyes was replaced with a piece of cloth and tape, then more cloth accompanied with rough handling of my body and a great deal of threats, swearing and intimidation. Interrogations went around in cycles, the same questions round and round again…….Listening to a group of five individuals talk about methods of torture, slap a few of us around, threats, swearing and humiliation. This process of repeated questioning about our name, job, address and phone number could have been because of the lack of organization or incompetence from the state security. As I heard the names of my colleagues I recognized none until I heard the 7th name: Mohamed El Sharkawy, someone I knew and I could trust in an environment were I couldn’t trust anyone. Interrogator continued to mock all questioned but finding a friend gave a strong moral boost. After maybe our third or fourth stop and our sixth questioning, I was pulled up by strong arms and pulled out of the truck. I was guided to walk in a circle stopping at one point and then placed back in the truck, at that time I had no idea what was happening. Later I knew I was being identified. Sharkawy has been also taken out of the truck but for further interrogations. I could hear few sentences from my location inside. The voice told him that he was wanted for some crime in his home town; obviously a made up story in order to display and identify him.We were kidnapped at around 2:30am. I loosened my blindfold seeing my knee and the side of the truck. Something I attempt to do subtly for sometime when sensing the lack of security personnel in the truck. By the time I could lift the blindfold slightly and see the floor beneath me, I could also hear the birds marking the lovely moments of day light. For sometime I had been feeling a piece of material with my feet hopping it was my jacket when I could eventually see that it was not my jacket but what it was brought a smile on my face; it was the remaining piece of a banner that we had, I read “liberated zone” “منطقة محررة".Maybe it was the irony that made me smile or the memory of why I was here. Whatever it was, it made me feel better, it made me feel stronger.By now the hope that we were to be let go had gone. I never imagined I would be here for that long yet I know nothing of my fate. We were then guided out of the truck. I sensed a difference in the method of treatment. The way I was being pushed around was different. Soon I distinguished from all I saw; shoes and white trousers. I realized I was in a police station. I was guided up stairs and down stairs. It felt like walking in circles. My thoughts jumped from a possibility to another. Does it mean I was being charged with something? Released? Dumped? Those were the questions going through my mind. I was held against a wall and searched.We were then put into a cell and left tied and blindfolded, the beginning of a new chapter of our ordeal.I will continue writing about this experience tomorrow as the lights have just gone out."