Episode 2

Published on:

7th May 2020

Al Khatib Street or "Hell on Earth"

This episode takes you into Branch 251. Or Al Khatib Branch, as it is known among survivors.

Your hosts Karam and Fritz talked to them. Based on their accounts, this is how a detainee's journey looks like from arrest and arrival at the Branch, to the cells and interrogation rooms -- or better: torture chambers.

A word of warning: better not listen with kids or just before going to bed. This will likely be the most gruesome episode of the entire podcast. But it is reality. It is the 21st century. In Syria. It is Branch 251.

* * *

Subscribe to keep every episode coming to you automatically every week. If you would like to support the podcast, go to our website and click 'Support This Podcast'.

You can follow us on Twitter @Fritz_Streiff and @KaramShoumali.

* * *

Some additional sources on this episode and the trial here:

Bernard for The New York Times, 'Inside Syria’s Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent', 11 May 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/11/world/middleeast/syria-torture-prisons.html

Violations Documentation Centre, 'Report on Khateeb Branch- State Security, The Testimony of the Detainee Yaser Abd Al-Samad Hussen Karmi', August 2013: http://www.vdc-sy.info/index.php/en/reports/khatibbranch#.XrPe9xMzZE4

Will Christou and Walid Al Nofal, 'Torture and death: Life in al-Khateeb detention center', 29 April 2020, https://syriadirect.org/news/torture-and-death-life-in-al-khateeb-detention-center/#.XqmQsc2e9co.twitter

@ECCHR Berlin hearing summaries can be found here: https://ecchr.eu/en/case/trial-monitoring-first-trial-worldwide-on-torture-in-syria/…

Weekly monitoring reports by the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC): https://syriaaccountability.org/topic/trial-monitoring/updates/…

@MansourOmari survived the Syrian regime’s torture and is blogging for @AmnestyUK, Part 2 here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/campaigns-blog/syrian-torture-trial-koblenz-germany-part-2

* * *

Logo design by laurenshebly.nl -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images.

Show artwork for Branch 251

About the Podcast

Branch 251
Syrian Atrocity Crimes on Trial

Branch 251 takes you to the heart of the world’s first criminal trial dealing with atrocity crimes committed by Syrian officials.

Prosecutors in the German city of Koblenz accuse two alleged henchmen of the Syrian government of crimes against humanity committed at ‘Branch 251’ detention center near Damascus.

Branch 251 gives you a biweekly update on the trial. With portraits of the main protagonists. Commentary, analysis, and testimony from the courtroom. Especially from victims and their families looking for justice. But will a German court in a city few people have heard of be able to deliver? Or are there too many obstacles looming on the horizon?

Branch 251 is listener supported. You can support us by subscribing, spreading the word and by going to our website (branch-251.captivate.fm) and clicking the 'Support This Podcast' button.

Follow us on Twitter @Fritz_Streiff and @paulinepeek.

Logo design by laurenshebly.nl -- Photo by James Lawler Duggan/AFP/Getty Images.

Support This Show

About your hosts

Pauline Peek

Profile picture for Pauline Peek
Pauline Peek is a research assistant, production assistant and history student who also happens to possess a bachelor’s degree in singing. Originally from the Netherlands, she is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

Fritz Streiff

Profile picture for Fritz Streiff
Fritz is a strategic human rights lawyer with a focus on investigations and case-building in the fields of atrocity crimes and anti-corruption. International justice is his big passion. Though podcasts follow pretty closely. He is currently based in Paris, France.