“They Sentenced Me to Death, but I Do Not Know Why”

Justice for Life Organization interviewed Mohammad Ahmad Al Sager, a 23-year-old young man who is the brother of Ihasan Ahmad al Sager who was executed by Islamic State Group on July 21st 2015. Mohammad narrates the incident details.

Introduction:

Ihsan Ahmad Al Sager was born in 1988. He was working in Lebanon and visiting his family in Al Ordi neighborhood in Deir Ezzor city every now and then.

Ihsan arrived in his family’s house for a leave, which was decided not to exceed couple of days, however and due to the military service decision, that was taken by the Syrian government, he had to remain in Deir Ezzor. It should be noted that Ihsan accomplished the military service, yet he was afraied to be arrested by the Syrian government and being recruited.

Ihsan Ahmad Al Sager

 

Background:

The Islamic State group captured most of Deir Ezzor province in July 2014, including the neighborhoods of Al Hameedia, Al Shaikh Yassin, Ganamat, Khasarat, Al Ordi, Al Matar Al Qadeem, Al Ummal, Al Haweeqa, and Al Ba’ajjin in Deir Ezzor city until the Syrian government forces entered those neighborhoods in November 2017. During the group control, it committed violations against civilians such as detention, forcible disappearance and execution of hundreds. These violations were the main reason of displacement of huge influx of people from the province, especially those who participated in civilian and military actions against the Syrian government.

The First Detention:

Ihas was detained for two times after his arrival to Al Ordi neighborhood in Deir Ezzor city as the Islamic State group sentenced him to be beheaded by sword after the second detention. Mohammad talks about the first one : “ following a dispute between a foreign fighter in the group with his wife where he saw her standing with another person, his wife admitted for twenty-six people, one of them had a WhatsApp chat with Ihsan. Aftermath the investigation with those people, the Islamic Police arrested Ihsan and checked the Facebook conversations. When I heard that Ihsan was arrested by them, I opened his Facebook messenger and deleted all conversations, despite the fact that they were normal conversations, yet I know that they will try to find any reason to find a charge. Then, I was arrested by them because I deleted the conversations of Ihsan from his Facebook messenger”.

Mohammad continues his testimony “my cell was so close to Ihsan’s one in Al Sai hospital, which was taken by the group as a headquarter. Ihsan told me that the group members beaten his harshly and caused some damage to him for admitting the Facebook messages that were deleted. I was told that Abu Munzer Al Masri – a clergyman- sentenced him to death and he does not know the reason”.

The death sentence that was issued by Islamic State group in Deir Ezzor should be ratified by the Islamic Sourt in Al Mayadin city, which was headed by Abu Abdullah Al Kuwaiti who cancelled the sentence against Ihsan. Abu Abdullah Al Kuwaiti asked Ihsan if he desires to submit a comlaint against those who arrested and tortured him, Ihsan submitted a complaint against Abu Al Munzer Al Masri, who issued the death sentence, along with two people from Deir Ezzor; Abu Hammoud and  Mohammad Al Mulla Ali.

Mohammd Al Mulla Ali- One of the group members

 

Mohammad continues his testimony to JFL : “ The Islamic State group released a statement to dismiss Abu al Munzer al Masri, I heard later that he was executed in Aleppo but I do not know if it was related to Ihsan complain or for another reason. Abu Hammoud was deported to Al Busaira town in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, Mohammad Al Mulla Ali was deported as well to Jarabulus in Aleppo countryside”.

The Second Detention:

“ following months of releasing Ihsan, specifically on the fifth day of Ramadan in 2015, as Ihsan exited the mosque at 04:00 AM, a van driven by Abo ali Hawajez, a leader from Idleb, came and Ihsan was order to come with them. They checked his phone, which I gave him two days before this incident, and took him to one of their headquarters. On the next day, I went and asked Abu Ali about the reason of arresting Ihsan, he answered me that he will be released during couple of days”.

Abu Ali hawajez – one of the Islamic State group members

“Eleven days later, a person came and told me that Ihsan is in the headquarter of the Islamic Police and a judge sentenced him to death by shooting his head. I went with my mother to the headquarter. Nobody was there, I entered and saw Ihsan in his cell. He told me that he does not know what is going on and they accused him with blasphemy, and he denied this charge, as they claim that they saw this blasphemous sentences on my phone but they did not show me anything. I told Ihsan let us get out as nobody is here, but he refused and said they will trace me if I escape” Mohammad says.

Mohammad continues “ I took my mother to the house  and went back to Ihsan, and I did not see anybody in the headquarter. I asked Ihsan to escape but he refused. He told me that Abu Ali Hawajez was the investigator, yet I asked Abu Ali and he said he did not do so”.

Seven days later, a person told Mohammad that Ihsan is in the field hospital. Mohammad went to see Ihsan, but he could not as Ihsan was moved to the jail. The medical staff told Mohammad that Ihsan suffered from some fractures due to extreme torture in the jail. Mohammad headed to the Islamic Police headquarter to express his objection to what Ihsan is receiving in the jail. A member told him that Ihsan refuses to say the truth.

Mohammad says “ a member told me that the charge of Ihsan is blasphemy but no evidence is available and he will be released soon”. “Two days later, I heard that he is in Al Mayadin jail and some member told the detainees that Ihsan will be executed. I sought for him in everywhere but the ISIS members refused to tell me about his place”.

Mohammad could reach an ISIS member in Al Mayadin jail and made sure that Ihsan is prisoned in the jail. Mohammad says “ I sent money and some needs to Ihsan throughout  this member. Couple of days later, this member told me that a judge whose name is Abu Muslim Al Jazrawi saw Ihsan and accused him with blasphemy. The judge was reading from a piece of paper claiming that the phone number and mobile belongs to Ihsan. I tried to make the judge asks for the mobile again and search for the evidence, but he refused to do so”.

The sign that was put on the body of Ihsan, includes the charge and sentence

Mohammad says “ I went with my friend to Abu Ali hawajez, who arrested Ihsan, and I asked him about the reason of arresting my brother. His speech was contradictive as sometimes he says that he saw blasphemy on Ihsan conversations on WhatsApp, and sometimes he says on Facebook messenger, and sometimes he says on SMS mailbox”.

Execution of the Sentence:

Two days before the execution of the sentence – nobody knew the date of execution – Mohammad contacted with the leader of security officers in (Wilayat Al Khair), which the name of Deir Ezzor province according to the group, and he was in Al Omar field. Mohammad explained the whole story to him. He issued a decision to re-investigate in the case of Ihsan, but it was in vain.

The arrival of Ihsan to the scene of execution

 

The populations gathered upon the order of the militants to witness the execution

 

Mohammad talks about the execution against his brother Ihsan “Before the execution, the militants started to bother me and tried to evoke me. I was convinced that they will kill Ihsan. On July 21st 2015, I was coming from Al Mayadin to Al Ordi neighborhood, where I live, I entered to one of my friends house, many vehicles came to the neighborhood. We exited the house and we saw a van that brought Ihsan. One of the militants read a statement including the name of the victim and the charge throughout a speaker. He said that he will be executed by the charge of blasphemy. They confirmed that Ihsan took the third chance to repent, but he returned to blasphemy. I tried to get closer but my friends prevented me. The militants beheaded him and crucified him for one day, and they prevented anybody to get close to him. On the next day, they came and took the body and prevented us to bury him”.

Before the sentence execution

 

The fast execution and choosing the scene of execution indicate that they wanted to make a shock against Ihsan family and the civilians in Deir Ezzor. Mohammad says “ They beheaded Ihsan in a place that was 150m away from our house, which was the first time where a civilian is executed nearby his family house. Usually, this kind of execution takes place nearby the park of Al Takaya street. The execution took place after two months of detention, which is not common by the group as the usual period between detention and execution is less than three months”.

On the next day, Mohammad and his family left Deir Ezzor as they could not stand it anymore. Close people to the ISIS group threatened Mohammad. Moreover, the group took the house where they used to reside in despite the fact that it was not owned by them, but they resided in it after their house is destroyed by the government air forces in Al Ordi neighborhood.

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