The Death of a Woman from Deir Ezzor as She was Arrested in Philistin Branch

Justice for Life organization documented the death of Mrs. Heyam Mohammed Nafi al-Omar from Deir ez-Zor governorate after she was detained in Syrian government prisons in Damascus, where her relatives were informed on 10 May 2020 of the need to come and receive her personal belongings. Heyam is from the town of Al-Quriya, east of Deir ez-Zor, aged 36, newly married, with no children and has  a primary school diploma. The organization has reached out to a person who is aware of the details of the incident and is reluctant to give any details for the sake of his personal security.

Arrival in Damascus

In 2017, with military attacks by Syrian regime forces and their allies on areas out of their control in Deir ez-Zor, tens of thousands of civilians were forced to flee to Damascus, Hasakeh and Raqqa provinces, as well as SDF control areas in Deir ez-Zor, north of the Euphrates River. “Heyam went out with her relatives and residents to the Al-Hol IDPs camp and stayed for about a year and then returned to Al-Quriya after a relatively calm return, where she stayed until 2019, where she got married and moved to Damascus, where her husband lives,” the witness said.

Detention

In February 2020, while Heyam was in the Immigration and Passport Service to get a “visit permission” document to go to Lebanon, and after checking her personal identity, two security agents arrested her without giving reasons, despite her husband’s attempt to find out the details, where they refused to respond and asked him to leave. The witness says: “After several attempts by her relatives, they knew that the reason for the arrest was that she was accused of preparing food for ISIS elements during their control of Deir ez-Zor province, as well as through a lawyer who was present in the military intelligence branch (235) known locally as the Palestine Branch, and despite all attempts to release her, whether in personal relations or the efforts of the lawyer, they failed even to visit her.”

A Call to Attend at Al Mazzeh Military Hospital

Heyam’s husband received a call from the Mezze military hospital and asked him to attend, the witness says: “The call was suggestive to come and receive the wife, and the husband understood that she had been released, but upon his arrival he was informed that he was attending to receive the wife’s body.”. The witness continues: “Because there were no official papers proving the marriage, the hospital administration requested the presence of another member of her family, so her father and brother arrived the next day, 11 May 2020, at night and asked them to return the next day because the official working hours were over.”

A Scrawny Body and No Signs of Torture

The next day, 12 May 2020, Heyam’s relatives received her body. “They also received a ready death certificate, but no one knows who organized it, whether it was the Palestine Branch administration or the hospital administration, and her belongings were not delivered,” the witness says. According to the witness, he did not notice signs of torture on Heyam’s body, but she was very skinny, knowing that she was not sick before the arrest or was taking any kind of medication. “Her extreme scrawniness made us think that she was exposed to starvation or she went on a hunger strike during her detention, which was only 4 months.”

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