"Bashar is God! Bashar is God!"
As the fists and boots and sticks pummelled his body and bloodied his face, the college student screamed out what he thought his interrogators wanted to hear: The name of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad.
It worked. The secret policemen tired of beating him for the day and threw him back into the makeshift cell, a room inside the power station in Banias, where local prisons are full to bursting from a wave of arrests ahead of the military assault on the port city, which began earlier this month.
The respite was short-lived. Handcuffed by his wrists and ankles and blindfolded, the student, who gave testimony to a trusted local activist on condition of anonymity, was led to a car and driven to another torture cell.
"I was being beaten all over my body. I was bleeding and was saying the shahada to myself, ‘There is no God, but God,' because I thought I was going to die at that moment," he said. More...
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