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Syrian writer: Robert Fisk is indoctrinated by Syrian regime
Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, who spent 16 years as a political prisoner in Syria, says that the imprisonment conditions in Syria are very different to those portrayed by British journalist Fisk in a recent newspaper article
Mohammed Saad, Tuesday 4 Sep 2012
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Yassin Haj Saleh
Syrian thinker and writer, Yassin Al-Haj Saleh

Syrian writer and thinker Yassin Al-Haj Saleh has vehemently criticised British journalist Robert Fisk, who is the Middle East correspondent of the British daily The Independent, for the image that he portrayed of Syrian political prisons in an article published on Sunday, 2 September, titled 'Syria's road from jihad to prison'.

Yassin accused Fisk, who visited Syria this week, of being "indoctrinated"; his article portrays the intelligence officers at one of Syria’s most notorious military prison as friendly, agreeing to leave Fisk alone with the prisoners, who Fisk describes as "Islamic jihadists."

"Fisk reflected this view of the political prisons because he was just too embedded in the events, and couldn't see the wider vision; he was indoctrinated," Yassin told Ahram Online from Syria. 

Yassin, who spent 16 years in military prisons in Syria, says that Fisk's description is not related to the facts on the ground.

"He visited a prison where all the detainees he met were extremist jihadists who came to Syria from Algeria and Turkey to make big explosions, and when intelligence agencies arrest them, they do not torture them as we may expect. One of them told Fisk that he’s fine, and thanks god for that; another one said that he was tortured for only one day," commented Yassin.

"The detainees are Salafist jihadists and yet the officer leaves Fisk alone to interview them freely." Yassin added, marking the friendly behaviour that Fisk asserted he witnessed from the guards

"Personally, I was jailed for 16 years, for minor charges. The imprisonment conditions were worse; no Western or local journalist could ever have visited me nor any human rights activists. This applies to everyone who was arrested during the revolution, the thing that Fisk never revealed," Saleh argued.

The only explanation of the access Fisk got to the prisons is that the Syrian regime guaranteed that Fisk isn’t going to reflect this negative image, and made their arrangements with Fisk, who has allowed himself to be misled, according to Saleh.

Saleh, 51, is a Syrian thinker, writer and former political prisoner, and spent 16 years in the Syrian regime’s prisons during the 1980s and 1990s. He is a regular contributor to various Arabic newspapers and periodicals, including a weekly column in Al-Hayat newspaper.

He published two books after he was released from prison in 1997, 'Syria from the shadow: Glimpses inside the black box' and 'Myths of the others: Criticising contemporary Islam and criticising its criticism.'

His latest book, released last July, titled 'Salvation boys: 16 years in Syrian prisons', narrates his time in detention in Syria.





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Mona
07-09-2012 07:34pm
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Freedom of speech
I thank Al Ahram for downing my post below. Must be politicaly incorrect because my Father was a Christian? An old man who died because of foreign terrorists fighting in Kousseir. Yalla salam!
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budovski
06-09-2012 12:38pm
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So if you don't write KSA propaganda you don't count?
So because he actually goes and gets the other side of teh story instead of just repeating what the SOHR says verbatim he is "indoctrinated'. Get a grip.
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George Youssef
05-09-2012 09:15am
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Syrian writer: Robert Fisk is indoctrinated by Syrian regime
It is so obvious that Fisk had visited security personnel posed as prisoner even though they were kept in normal prison. Believe me, everybody in Syria even children know how bad Syrian prisons are. In addition all Syrian will tell you endless stories about tortures and humiliation of detainees in Syrian confinement centers. Mr. Fisk should be ashamed of what he has written about Syria lately and I Believe he owes an apology for the Syrian people because he helped in beatifying the atrocities and mass killing of Syrian regime.
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Alisar Iram
04-09-2012 10:04pm
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Robert Fisk interviewing prisoners in a Syrian jail
I completely agree with Mr Yassin Al-Haj Saleh criticism of Robert Fisk. I myself have posted the following as a comment and message to Robert Fisk at the Independent: That there are salafis and jihadis in Syria who came driven by good intentions or not so good intentions, I have no doubt. But what percentage do they make of the rebels or the revolutionaries. As for the truth of their confessions and circumstances, Yassin Al-Haj who experienced the Syrian prisons in less terrible times, is the one whose testimony we can rely on. What infuriates and baffles me is that the interview with the prisoners is obviously staged to convey and reveal exactly what the Syrian prison authorities wished the journalists to see and hear. It will not stand scrutiny in any court of law because taken under duress. They are prisoners, aren't they? In a notorious Syrian prison, aren't they? My second bone of contention is: why these 4 prisoners? What about the thousands of rebel prisoners, who are languish
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Dalou
05-09-2012 03:28pm
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Syria legal Opposition is the legitimate
You just have to look at the barbarian acts recorded by the foreing terrorists you call "rebels" filming themfelves in youtube, executing prisoners, throwing postal workers from top of roof, chanting "Allahuakbar"
Mona
05-09-2012 12:18am
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Name all oppositions "rebels" groups Mr. Alisar
You can see these barbarian foreign mercenaries LIVE on youtube, commeting war crimes, you dont have to "believe" ecxept your own eyes
Alisar Iram
04-09-2012 11:36pm
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rhe above comment, continue
. Why these 4 prisoners? What about the thousands of rebel prisoners, who are languishing in prison, many of them dying under torture, and many of them mutilated or disposed of? I, an admirer of Fisk's distinguished career, have to say: this is a piece of stray journalism conducted in the long shadow of the Syrian government, divorced from the context of the Syrian Revolution which makes it unreliable and dodgy.

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