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September 23, 2013

Adraa Women’s Prison is turning into Just another

bandannie apologizes for the poor presentation

– Press Statement


Violation Documentation Center in Syria (VDC) has been informed that Adraa

Women’s prison

has become similar to syrian security branches in many aspects, especially

regarding the way female detainees are treated, the poor health conditions and the lack of


This prison is located in Adraa City in Damascus suburbs, just next to the men’s prison in

the south-eastern side. It has recently witnessed accelerated events, the most recent of which

has been an open hunger strike carried out by women detainees few weeks ago, to demand

better conditions of detention and to accelerate their standing before courts.

Adraa Women’s Prison is divided into two sections:

– Criminal Section:

specialized in various Criminal charges

Political Section: divided into two lockups:

1. Commitment lockup:

includes all detainees transferred from various security

branches. At the present time, the number of detainees there is about women,

and this number is subject to changes according to the number of detainees that are

being transferred daily from other security branches, or those who are being moved


2. Arrest lockup:

currently includes more than 40 detainees who have appeared before

the court. This number continues to increase as a result of the large number of

detainees that has been transferred to the judiciary from various security branches.


Criminal Section also includes a number of political detainees. This was confirmed by a

lawyer who encountered more than ten cases of detainees that got arrested by security

branches, either because of their participation in revolutionary activities or due to their

political backgrounds, and was consequently admitted to the criminal section, to be sent, later

on, to criminal trials facing purely criminal charges such as prostitution, theft and drug abuse.


One of the former female detainees told

VDC that after she had been detained by the Raid

Detachment Branch

215, the subsidiary of Military Intelligence Department, she was

surprisingly transferred to the ” Criminal Section” with dozens of women prisoners who had

been facing criminal charges, on top of which was prostitution, although she had been

arrested in

March 2013 for her revolutionary media and field activism.

Most of the former women detainees whom

VDC interviewed agreed that Adraa Women’s

Prison does not differ much from any other security branch. Many detainees even confirmed

that it turned into a mere security branch, especially the “Commitment Section”, after the

officer in charge of the prison, General “Faisal Oqla

from Deir ez-Zor, banned all the

privileges that central prisons usually have. He prohibited TVs, radios, refrigerators, buying

any vegetable or meat, and handmade crafts such as

“beads and wool”. He also prohibited the

detainees from making any phone calls, and prohibited the parents from bringing books or

any kind of food for the detainees

. Moreover, prisoners from the “Prostitution Section” were

brought to inspect the other detainees’ personal items in a provocative way

without any

justifiable reasons. All of those mentioned actions began in August 2012.

In Adraa Prison, female detainees are exposed to several kinds of punishments by

the prison guards; such as leaving detainees in the individual cell for long periods,

beating them with truncheons, pull their hair, or beat them on the feet ‘Falaqah’.

One of the female detainees told


“Once, a few security guards entered the prison dormitory, and

started beating

more than 20 of the detainees with truncheons. Then, they took one of them-after

taking off her ‘Hijab’ (veil) and pulling her hair-to the ‘torturing room’, where she was

brutally beaten on her feet. She couldn’t walk properly for three days after that. This

happened, specifically, last May 2013.

On another time, during an inspection, they found one of the detainees reading the

Holy Quran. She had a quarrel with them and then they hit her and stepped on the

Holy Quran. This happened, specifically, in July 2013, a few days before Holy


Slow death” is how one of the former female detainees described the condition of some

sick women there. Despite the fact that there were pregnant women, babies, elderly women,

and women with malignant diseases, there were no specialized doctors in Adraa Prison. The

Administration of the Prison justified the lack of medical care by saying that the road to the

hospital is so dangerous due to the clashes, and that sending a detainee to the hospital

requires the ‘approval of some authority’ which they didn’t name. Many deaths have

happened in the prison, the last of which was the death of a detainee, who was very sick and

had some kind of stroke or shortness of breath and died immediately. One of the detainees

who witnessed the incident stated to VDC that

“The other detainees did not know the nature of the disease of (Huda 39 years old,

Homs), as she suffered some kind of “stroke” or “shortness of breath”. Despite the fact that

other detainees asked the guards to take her to the medical clinic, but they refused, which

caused her immediate death. This was in the first week of February 2013.

According to another former detainee testimony, one of her cellmates tried to commit

suicide by cutting her ‘artery’ because they did not provide milk for her 10

-month-old baby,

to whom she gave birth during her detention period in Homs’ Central Prison before being

transferred to Adraa prison. Also, in another incidence recorded few weeks ago, an 8-daysold

baby died in the same prison, due to the lack of nutrition and the absence of newborn


The VDC in Syria appeals to all humanitarian and human rights international

organizations to intervene immediately in order to release all female detainees from the

prisons of the Syrian regime, and to stop the heinous practices against Adraa W


Prison detainees.

Violation Documentation Center in Syria

September 2013

Violation Documentation Center in Syria E-mail:
Websit: Facebook: Twitter:

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Season 2 – Jerusalem

DEF CON 21 Presentation By Mudge – Unexpected Stories From a Hacker Inside the Government

Having had the opportunity to see things from within the hacker community and from a senior position in the DoD, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko has some enlightening stories, and picks some of his favorites to share. He discusses Julian Assange’s story to him about US government involvement in the origins of Wikileaks, how the DoD caused Anonymous to target government systems, some of the ways in which the defense industrial base’s poor security works financially in its favor, and cases where the government missed opportunities for positive outreach and understanding with this community.

You’ll probably recognize parts of these stories from the news, but the origins and back stories are lesser known.


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