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Survivor from an ‘Islamic State’ prison recalls excruciating torture

According to survivors, prisons run by the extremist group “Islamic State” are unbearable. Detainees stand blindfolded and handcuffed without food or water for days and weeks, only allowed to move when it’s time to pray.


A bus carries passengers from the Syrian city of Tel Abyad to the Turkish border city of Akcakale. These Syrian refugees carry with them pain and bitter memories of the past, but also a bit of hope for the future: Entering Turkey as a Syrian refugee is a new lease on life. One of the refugees on that bus, going by the fake name of Khaled, tells his story of escape from an ‘Islamic State’ (IS) prison.

In an interview with DW, Khaled was tearful as he recalled his past experience, his wife and children sitting across from him. He was arrested this past March by IS in Raqqa, Syria, and remained in their prisons for an excruciating 90 days. “My experiences there are etched in my memory – I’ve witnessed inconceivable torture.”

Unexpected interrogation

Khaled recalled the day when he went out in the morning to the store – only to be suddenly confronted by his neighbor. His neighbor began to inquire about Khaled’s brother, who had fled from Raqqa to Turkey. Khaled said: “He asked about my brother, and then about my brother’s wife living with her father. I knew now that we were in danger.”

Many families in Raqqa hide their daughters, fearing harassment by IS members, and also to fend off their repeated requests to marry them. Khaled believed that his neighbor had sinister intentions, so he contacted his brother and told him about the conversation. He then informed his brother’s wife that she needed to leave immediately. After


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