The deepest scar

‘The set-up of the cells is designed to break a person in a matter of days. Their shape physically and psychologically breaks down the person. When I was in the cell I was able to hear the voices of other people being tortured. That by itself is a torture. Imagine sitting and hearing continuously the screams of other people…’

Canadian Abdullah Almalki spent 482 days in a torture centre after returning to Syria to visit his family in 2002. Even now, back in Ottawa and seeking justice from the Canadian Government, who he holds partly responsible for his detention, the experience stays with him.

‘It affects every aspect of my life. Just doing day-to-day chores is a challenge. It’s a challenge for me, a trained engineer, to do simple arithmetic in my head. It’s very hard to concentrate on anything; my professional life has been totally destroyed. Physically and mentally I’ll never be the same – my life has been stolen and destroyed. The Canadian Government was complicit in everything that happened to me in Syria. They have for years blocked all our attempts to get justice. My Government has been trying very hard to shield the truth from the Canadian public and the world community.’

Hear Abdullah’s full story on *Radio New Internationalist*’s special programme – Torture – The Deepest Scar: [](

New Internationalist issue 407 magazine cover This article is from the December 2007 issue of New Internationalist.
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