19 in a cell

The protests have risen because of the so-called “Economic Reform” which actually doubled everything in price. I was talking to my father on the phone telling him the scene as it is and not as he receives it from the media… and then it happened, the minute I hung up the phone a guy with a black stick pulls me form the street and tells me that I send false information to outside intelligence! I try to reason with him but to no point.
The NISS interrogate me for minutes in a regional office along with others and quickly hands me over to the police, the NISS were all so busy protecting the police station from the protesters who wanted to storm the place that they had no time to give us a “proper welcome” according to one NISS agent, all I got is a bruised thigh from a direct blow by an AK-47 handle, they quickly listed our names and took us to the station’s prison.

The prison was composed of two cells, I had the honor of sharing the western cell along with 19 “inmates”, this is their short story…

Momen was a university student who was coming home from collage on foot due to absence of transport that day, he was caught in front of his house for no reason what so ever. He was brought in the night before and was brutally beaten, when I arrived in the morning he was cleaning and washing  the cell for the stench of urine, he was my main partner for the rest of the prison stay, he was reciting beautiful poetry which I cloud not relate to because I was worried about the other guy on my right, Musab.
Musab was the most quite in the cell, he took a small nap and woke up with an unpleasant facial expression, I got worried and asked him what was wrong, he said he just needs some snuff, which was not allowed in prison,  I knew a neighbor of mine who was locked in the eastern cell and he provided me with some through a crack on the wall, Musab consumed the snuff but was still annoyingly quite!

Four people from a Nubian-Mountain ethnicity were with us inside, they got the most awful physical and verbal abuse and were accused of being members of the so-called “Niggers” gang notoriously known for violence, they looked like good folks to me! One of them recognized one of his abusers as his neighbor and was contemplating for his murder for the entire duration of the stay and as soon as he gets out, the others were laughing at that notion but he looked serious to me!

Four minors, one of them was a 12 year old kid, where my heroes… They were solid in there! One of them still had his school uniform on, he told us that he was caught from inside the school.

Two friends who were neighbors of the police station were caught for simply standing outside their homes! they knew every police man at the station and that still didn’t vouch for their testimonies that they’re innocent, NISS agents didn’t allow that… One of the NISS agents later said to us: “We can not go within these protests and get hurt, so we catch anyone near so our superiors know that we are working”!

Another local resident they call “The Lizard” was our cell mate, he was the rascal in the group, he had a badly executed tattoo on his left arm of the letter M, I didn’t know whether it was his initial or someone else’s, that was secondary to me because I was amazed with his strange personality.
First of all he had his signature on the cell wall indicating that he was not a first-timer, he slept the whole time and kept screaming “YES!” whenever the guards called someone’s name. He told me that his father came and refused to bail him, he hid a long story of family matters that I wasn’t in a mood to explore, he tried to break the prison’s bars on the ceiling and said that he would escape, he would’ve made it too if he wasn’t so tired.

A guy with a Jalabya traditional wear was just full of anger, he hasn’t spoke one word since we arrived and found him, he got bailed out quickly and we never saw him again.
The drunk guy was the star of the show, he was in under the Act 79: Alcoholism. He brought into the cell another prohibited item which was very valuable to us, a mobile phone, I quickly grabbed the phone and called the only number I could memorize in there, my next door neighbor’s… I told him not to tell my family at all, only my cousin. The drunk guy was so funny he made the cell stay very pleasurable. He also slept like a child in a place where sleep is impossible.

Maisra Haroon, 19, came from a far place to visit his uncle, no one knew he was in prison because he couldn’t memorize a phone number, luckily for him I recognized his uncle’s house, I promised him I would go tell them if I leave prison, which I did later on.

The last two had no story to tell they just sat the whole time with their heads on their labs, when I left they were still there.

The meals were awful, I only consumed the bread and drank tap water out of a blue plastic bucket. It was very hot in our cell and people were sweating like athletes, in the afternoon every one in the cell had their shirts off.
they opened the cell for a brief moment and it had a hall way with some ventilation. Everyone came out to catch a small glimpse of comfort, Musab didn’t, he stayed in and that annoying look of silence he had has now turned into a look of pain, I noticed his left leg was shivering and I knew immediately something was wrong, I examined the leg and I found no sensation or motor activity in it! All the time the guy was in a lot of pain and he didn’t want to complain, but now the pain was very severe, he was screaming and crying, and people like that do not cry unless it was major! I called the guard who immediately removed him outside, probably to a hospital… but who knows, he could be anywhere right now… or he could be simply at home!

In that hall way we mingled with some people from the eastern cell, one of them was brutally beaten from the night before and his right eye was injured he came form Jabra all the way across the state, he knew only one person in Omdurman, I memorized the number while I was leaving prison but it wasn’t in service when I later called it!
There were a lot of other people in the other cell with even more strange stories. Perhaps a sequel to these notes will tell their story, but for now I’m trying to enjoy my freedom, a desire that is always blocked by the thought of my brothers that I left behind… To be continued…

 

September 29th 2013      12:45 pm

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