After Enduring 24 Long Years in Captivity, He finally Found Peace Beyond The Prison Bars
This morning, Sunday, September 18th, 2022, the world lost a gentle soul. Issam Raafat Sharihi—known to his loved ones as Abu Raafat—drew his final breath in the cold confines of Damascus Central Prison (Adra), where his already fragile health collapsed entirely. A native of Jubata al-Khashab in Quneitra province, born in Homs in 1964.
Sharihi lived an existence marred by the iron grip of an unforgiving regime, abducted in 1998 from his workplace in a landline station in Rukn al-Din neighborhood in Damascus, he was thrust into a world of immeasurable pain and darkness at the hands of the Syrian regime’s security forces.
Sharihi’s period of incarceration began at the Political Security Division’s Investigation Branch (Al-Fayhaa) where he was subject to extreme forms of torture, resulting in substantial injuries to his back and feet. Subsequently, he was moved to Tadmur Military Prison for approximately three years, enduring further torture. In 2001, he was transferred to Sednayah Prison and later, following the onset of the Syrian revolution in 2011, moved to Homs Central Prison, eventually ending up at Damascus Central Prison (Adra) where he remained until his death.
Notably, Sharihi was never formally charged and no concrete evidence was presented to validate the nebulous allegations leading to his arrest, which were rooted in coerced confessions from another detainee amid late 1990s political tensions between the Syrian regime and Turkey. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Military Field Court for alleged “disclosure of classified information detrimental to state security.” Throughout the proceedings, he was denied legal representation and any form of contact with his family, remaining incommunicado until 2005.
During his years of detention, Sharihi was beloved for his gentle and amiable nature. While in prison, he engaged in crafting various items ranging from rosaries to beaded artwork, using rudimentary materials for decorative purposes and Arabic calligraphy.
Association of Detainees and the Missing Persons in Seydnayah Prison expresses its deepest condolences to Sharihi’s family and holds the Syrian regime accountable for his death due to unjust incarceration and refusal to entertain any plea for retrial or sentence mitigation.
The Association also urges both local and international human rights organizations to focus attention on Sharihi’s case as symptomatic of the numerous political detainees who have been forgotten over the years—detained without clear charges, subjected to torture, and denied fair legal proceedings—while the Syrian regime obstinately rejects all pleas for their release or humane treatment, despite many suffering from severe medical conditions.
Association of Detainees and the Missing Persons in Seydnayah Prison