The other day, American journalist and propagandist Bilal Abdul Karim gave an interview in which he spoke about the conflict with the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) organization banned in Russia and the group’s stay in prison. According to him, he was detained by al-Julani militants in August 2020, some time after the July rumors about his detention. The reason for the persecution was his report on torture in the prisons of the HTS. A few hours after the story, he was detained.
In total, Abdul Karim spent more than six months in prison, was found guilty of unwanted activity and sentenced to three months in prison on several counts. At the same time, Abdul Karim complained that a lawyer was not allowed to see him, he was not familiarized with the testimony of witnesses, and the verdict was passed in his absence and without a judge. The journalist said that the words of the leader of the HTS, Abu Mohammed Al-Julani, that the HTS does not have its own prisons, and that the Government of Salvation deals with the issues of justice are a lie.
As for torture, Abdul Karim himself was not subjected to torture. However, being at different times in different institutions, he constantly heard the screams of victims of torture. Abdul Karim also shared a curious case when his cellmate, who also witnessed the torture, told a journalist that HTS does not practice torture. A comrade in misfortune explained that the violence he saw was torture in the opinion of the Americans. The Syrians consider this only a way of interrogating and exercising the authority of the interrogator over the person under investigation. Abdul Karim expressed outrage at such hypocrisy and said that this logic is quite in the spirit of the US security officials, who do not torture, but “use extended interrogation methods”, and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, against which the militants of HTS and other Idlib gangs are allegedly fighting …
With all this, Abdul Karim refused to recognize HTS as a terrorist organization. In his opinion, the problem of the group lies in its leader, who is not suitable for the role of leader. According to the American, Al-Julani is desperately looking for ways to legalize himself in the eyes of the West, but this is no excuse for a journalist to remain silent when he sees human rights violations by HTS. Abdul Karim expressed his desire to continue to fight for the truth in Idlib as long as he is useful.
Talking about why HTS began to indulge in such arbitrariness, Abdul Karim came to the conclusion that this was a consequence of the fact that the group finally came to power in Idlib. Despite the fact that al-Julani’s militants have indeed managed to gain a significant foothold in the province, they continue to fight other gangs and, fearing a threat from Turkey, are trying to fight dissent. It is possible that one should look for the reason for the HTS’s liberties not in Al-Julani’s confidence, but, on the contrary, in the precariousness of his position, writes Directorate 4 channel.