|THE HOUSE THAT JACQUE BUILT: The Medieval Torture Chamber: EL-KHIAM
| Israeli injustice against the people of Lebanon MUST stop.|
When the French occupied Lebanon in the 1930s, they built an outpost
near Metulla, which is today a symbol of Zionist terror, a torture chamber
in the heart of Occupied South Lebanon.
Not only do the residents of South Lebanon have to contend with the
occupying Israeli Army, but also with the South Lebanese Army (SLA) a bunch
of Israeli-trained bandits who are trained by the Israelis in techniques
of torture and interrogation. All this takes place under the auspicies
of the IDF, whilst Israel officially denies responsibility, claiming it
is the doing of the SLA.
Of course, all this takes places miles away from anywhere, no journalists
are present, although the Red Cross have had visits to El-Khiam. Amnesty
International have obtained testimonies from not only ex-detainees, but
also from Israeli soldiers who have served in El-Khiam. The concern of
the average Israeli citizen regarding Lebanon would be for the Israeli
"boys" serving there, not for their conscience troubling them over the
barbaric, sub-human practices of their army and government.
The inmates of El-Khiam is what Amnesty International describe as "the
forgotten hostages". About 150 prisoners are held in small, dark cells,
the only light coming from tiny holes in the ceiling, most cells are so
small and over-crowded that prisoners cannot lie down and have to sit up
for long periods staring at the wall or take turns to lie-down. People
are arrested and taken to Khiam, some have died on the way by suffocation
in the boots of the cars of their kidnappers. They're held without trial,
no rights, nor are physicians from outside allowed to enter. Food rations
are totally inadequate and there are accounts of having to eat "worm-infested
caulifours". Amnesty have detailed accounts from ex-detainees who have
previously spent long periods of detention in Khiam. The following is a
summary of its findings and accounts of ex-detainees of Khiam.
The Interrogation Period
This can last 3-4 months; you can be held in solitary confinement in
dark cells of 90cm sq. with one slot for putrid air to filter through.
Psychological and physical torture work hand in hand. You can be kept in
this vegetative state for weeks at a time with only your darkest thoughts
and a once daily bowl of gruel. During this time the interrogator will
ask you everything about you, what you did when you were 11 yrs. Old, who
you knew, who you played with, your family, closest friends, whether or
not you are a virgin, and if not, with whom you lost it. Soon they have
a complete file on your life.
There is no form of torture too base for them. They use sleep deprivation,
hood, nail-studded sticks for beatings, electric shock, water torture.....
"They drench your naked body in ice-cold water and, as you tremble to
recover, they throw buckets of hot water at you. They repeat this process
until your bones buckle under the abrupt changes of temperature.
Your torturers are also amateur electricians. Live cables work progressively
over your body in a calculated science of increasing pain. They begin at
the less sensitive buttocks, moving deliberately up the back and chest,
and end at the more sensitive nose and tongue, and then down again to the
"If the short, sharp shock treatment fails to achieve their desired
results, they opt for torture over longer periods. Starving you for days
on end or hanging you by your wrists so that only your toes touch the ground.
Muhammad Yassin's hands and wrists turned black after he was hung in this
fashion for 48 hours. "Concerned" that gangrene had set in,Muhammad's captors
thrashed his hands to get the blood pumping again through the constricted
"By far the worse interrogation techniques is for them to abduct a member
of your family. "If you won't talk", your torturers warn you, "we'll beat
and have our way with your mother or your sister or your fiancee". Afif
Hammoud's mother was held in Khiam for two months. She was physically assaulted,
more often than not in front of her son."
"Then they lead you back to your pigeon-hole of a cell where, in spite
of the fetid darkness, you are grateful for the brief respite. And you
INTERROGATION, TORTURE, INCARCERATION - THE NEXT 10 YEARS
"After the violent treatment of the first 3 months comes the stagnation.
In this stage, every day is exactly like the last which in turn is exactly
like the next. You soon forget which month, season or even year it is."
"If you are fortunate, after the interrogation, you will be moved to
a jail within "Israel" proper. Such as Ashkelon Prison. If you are unfortunate,
you will remain in the occupied south, in Khiam.
There are reports of Skin lice - scabies, and other conditions related
to insanitary conditions. Food is very often "gone-off", and passed its
sell-by date. The routine thereon is sit, stand, squat, lie, in turn. Once
a month detainees are taken for a quick 2 minute shower in cold water,
and a quick visit to the "sun room", so-called because, although hardly
bigger than the cells, it has no roof, open, and the blue sky is visible.
This is a 10-minute, once a month leg stretch.
Back in the cell, olive pips are collected to make Mesibha ("worry beads"),
and a piece of wire stripped from the bread bags makes a needle to sew
designs like embroidery.
The psychological trauma of the detention and interrogation is possibly
worse; the waiting, the monotony, any word of hope, like international
pressure from Amnesty, Red Cross or other group. The prisoners are left
with just one hope - a hope that their brothers have managed to capture
an SLA or Israeli soldier and a prisoner exchange will be arranged.
I cannot leave this article here though. It is always better to hear
from victims themselves, a far better form of expression, as I have already
stated. The following is a particularly upsetting account of agony and
hope of two elderly parents, whose sons are in El-Khiam.
Toufiq Kalakesh remembers the last time he saw his son Adel. 3rd June,
1993, in Dibbeen, Marjeyoun.
Adel, the eldest son of Toufiq was abducted by militiamen of the SLA.
He is now 36 years old.
Toufiq continues "I was standing on the balcony when it happened. I
rushed down to shout at the men. They said they were following orders and
Adel told me it was ok. That was the last I saw of him."
He was taken to the Khiam detention centre where his younger brother
Riad, now 31 years, had be held since 86. Toufiq, now 70 years old, insists
neither of his sons were members of any party. He and his wife Noha now
live in Beirut. Although families of detainees have been allowed to visit
relatives at Khiam since 1995, it was only recently that Toufiq agreed
to go with his wife to see their sons. He said he just could not handle
"I only decided to go because my wife said Riad was very sick. I have
heard how they treat prisoners and I didn't want to see my sons in such
conditions. I just don't like going there."
When Toufiq and his wife stood behind the grille they expected to see
their two sons, but only Adel appeared, and said Riad was sick. Toufiq
begged the SLA to bring him because he had come a long way and hadn't seen
him in 13 years. One of the SLA soldiers agreed and went to bring Riad.
"A few minutes later, I heard a thump, and the soldier came from behind
the door telling me Riad fell before he could make it out and was too sick
to walk. I felt my heart was burning"
Noha said Riad had suffered from seizures, asthma and eye infections.
She said he must have had a stroke because the left side of his face was
distorted and he couldn't talk properly. She says she does not want to
see him next time.
"Seeing us makes him more ill. Adel told me last week that Riad was
extremely tired for two days after I saw him 3 months ago and he is getting
worse. I wish they had children, I would have seen my sons through my grandchildren.
Adel's wife, Mona was captured in 1993. Mona was 2 months' pregnant when
they put her in Khiam, a week after her husband was captured. She had a
miscarriage because of the torture she was subjected to and was released
exactly a year later." She remains faithful to her husband and awaits his
Sorry, there are no other words to add from the writer of this.
UNITY Staff http://unity.ancient-news.com