Pro-regime Shabiha militants who take huge salaries from the regime, and rob the areas they enter have found a new way to make money. The new way is blackmailing the families of detainees and taking large sums of money from them promising them to release their detained sons and daughter, or bring any information about them.
Um Muhammed who lives in regime-controlled areas in Hama told RFS that her son “was detained several months ago by the regime. A Shabiha member working in the government’s security body exploited my eagerness to see my son and fear over his well-being, so he offered me a visit to my son in return of 100,000 SYP. However, he took the money and threatened me without doing what he promised to do.”
Khaled Al-Hamwi, also a civilian, told RFS his story saying that “my son, 35, was arrested at his workplace. We did not know his whereabouts for several months, until we heard that he is detained inside one of the regime’s security centers. Since we live inside regime-controlled areas, a man who is close to several regime officers told us that we can get our son out of prison after paying 2 million SYP. However, we later discovered that this promise was a fraud and only a mean to steal money.”
The recent mutiny inside the Central Prison of Hama took place after the regime asked the families of detainees to pay large sums of money to release them from the infamous Sednaya Prison and transfer them to Hama Prison. But to the families’ surprise, regime’s officers brought back those released detainees to Sednaya Prison after completing the transactions and taking the money.
RFS Media Office
Muhammed Al-Hamwi – Hama
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