Translated by; Aishah Barazi
It was absolutely surprising the news on capturing the head of Anti-Terrorism Department at the infamous Palestine Security branch Colonel Muneer Shlebiyeh. People like him, one of the main pillars of security systems that committed an incalculable number of crimes before and during the revolution. Members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were able to capture him in a special mission at the heart of Damascus city. A short video was released when the colonel was captured with another security officer. Then, his story disappeared for a couple of days and came back to make headlines in a new video titled: “Confessions of Colonel Muneer Shlebiyeh.”
Confessions of a colonel is a true “revolutionary scoop.” This man and his match, know many details and secrets concerning the regime’s countless dirty schemes inside and outside the country. Also, taking into account Colonel Shlebiyeh’s sensitive position as the head of Anti-Terrorism branch which means details on the regime’s missions in neighboring countries as well as facts on it’s staged operations inside Syria plus many other terrorist and criminal affairs.
We started the video and anticipated some “confessions”, minutes get passed and we only see the colonel insisting on denying all accusations by an FSA member who was playing the role of an “investigator.”
This “investigator” forced the colonel to chant against the regime in an ironic way with the intention to humiliate him. The whole time of the recording, one could clearly recognize the marks of bruises on the colonel’s face, his inability to stand up due to “foot whipping” obviously and the “investigator’s” swearwords whereas the colonel insists all along on denying the counts against him. Therefore, the recording did not contain any sort of confessions besides that it has shown FSA as an entity that practices torture against its prisoners. Also, it has featured a criminal head of a security branch as a victim.
If the sole aim of the recording was to humiliate and fleer the prisoner then, it has fully met its objective. On the other hand, it has failed to accomplish any thing else of the numerous objectives that could have been considered.
First, it has failed to extract any genuine confession from the prisoner. On the contrary, the recording proved that the prisoner denied all accusation despite being evidently tortured.
Second, the recording was a failure because it has brushed off an aggregate of ethical, legal and humanitarian principles. Even if the prisoner had given any confessions, it would have been worthless with the clear torture marks on his face on the account of confession under duress which has no value at court.
It has simply failed because the investigator impersonated the colonel and the interrogation was held at the terrorist Palestine Security branch along with all corporal punishments, swearwords and humiliation of dignities. Additionally, it has failed to deal with such a huge incident both publicly and politically and it was vengefully propagandized with a sense of levity.
Nowadays, FSA is progressing all over the country and working on the inner lines in order to better coordinate its military ops. Perhaps it is now time to consider managing the informational and political aspects by seeking help of political and media experts to better define its politics, speeches and image in the international media. This applies on FSA’s ops as well as stands of the current and new incidents on the ground.
Most importantly, FSA must ensure what we have used to know in the past months that our army grabs hold of the revolution’s principles and shuns from practicing any regime-like crimes or tyranny. Of everyone else, FSA is the only group capable of doing this due to its status in the hearts of all free Syrians. Above all, this cannot be accomplished by poetic speeches; what we the “activists” do to emphasize our principles; rather by actions.
The more those soldiers show great examples of bravery and sacrifice as they used to along with sublime and steadfast qualities, the closer we get to the essence of our revolution and of course, to the future we are all wishing and working on for Syria.