CBN This man is just one victim of this widespread modern-day slavery, kidnapping, and torture trade in the Sinai desert. A Christian man from the African country of Eritrea said, ”In some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians.”
“Sinai was always a place for human smuggling, but since around two years ago — even a bit more — it started also to be a place of human torture,” Shahar Shoham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, told CBN News. Shorham has documented more than 1,300 cases of torture in the Sinai. Those survivors, like Philip, made it to Israel. But most of the cases of torture are not documented.
From the West Coast of Africa to the deserts of Sinai, Bedouin tribes are conducting a human trafficking trade on a massive scale.
It’s no secret. The trade reaps millions of dollars and deals with human misery. It could be stopped but so far no one has dared.
“By that time I had lost sense (sensation) in both my hands,” an Eritrean torture victim told CBN News. “It was a result of the accumulated torture but mainly because (both) of my wrists were tied up so tightly, (and I was) hanged up from the ceiling for three days, the blood was cut off from my hands and the flesh started to literally drip from my hands.”
Torture in the Sinai
This man is just one victim of this widespread modern-day slavery, kidnapping, and torture trade in the Sinai desert. There are many pictures and videos of this horrible practice on the Internet.
For this story, this Christian man from the African country of Eritrea is going by “Philip,” but that’s not his real name. CBN News covered his identity for his protection.
“In some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians,” he told us, his chest trembling slightly as he spoke.
“Sinai was always a place for human smuggling, but since around two years ago — even a bit more — it started also to be a place of human torture,” Shahar Shoham, director of Physicians for Human Rights, told CBN News.
Shorham has documented more than 1,300 cases of torture in the Sinai. Those survivors, like Philip, made it to Israel. But most of the cases of torture are not documented.
“They torture them in horrible methods, like hanging upside down from the ceiling, like using electric shocks, like burning them on their bodies,” Shorham said.
Kidnapped for Ransom
This story begins in Eritrea, where many like Philip fled from its brutal dictatorship. He traveled to a United Nations refugee camp in Sudan. There he was kidnapped by a Bedouin tribe.
They transferred him — along with many others — through Sudan, Egypt, and all the way to the Sinai desert and their torture camps.
What happens next in these camps is diabolical.
“What they make you do is call your family and ask them for the money,” Philip explained. “Usually they will do the asking. They will say, ‘Either send this money or your brother will die or your father will die or your son will die.’ It depends on whoever is picking up the phone.”
“While you’re talking to your family they would pour molten plastic on your body so that you would scream and perhaps they thought that would persuade your family to pay or collect the money faster,” he said.
The tribesmen demand what for most poor Eritrean families is a king’s ransom.
“The ransom fees can go up to $40,000 for an individual and even $50,000, and until the ransom fees (are) paid, the people will not be released,” Shoham explained. The financial burden on the families is devastating.”
Killing a Soul
Sister Azziza is a Catholic nun from Eritrea who is based in Jerusalem. She has interviewed many of the Sinai survivors.
“People are destroyed physically (and) psychologically because of what they know they did to their family, how they are living,” Sister Azziza told CBN News.
But many do not make it out alive.
“We estimate that around 4,000 people died in the Sinai, some of them from torture,” Shoham said. Many who were with Philip died.
“We couldn’t help them; that was the most horrible thing,” he recalled. “Some you know. You have experienced some of the harshest treatment in this world and yet they’re dying and you couldn’t do anything to help them. That was horrible.”
Hanged Like Christ
Yet the torture and the dying go on.
CBN News talked with a 35-year-old Eritrean woman named Segen. She is five month’s pregnant.
Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean human rights activist living in Sweden, arranged our conversation. The kidnappers give them cell phones so they can call their family and friends.
We talked via Skype, linking Sweden, Jerusalem, and the Sinai.
It was sobering. You could hear the strain in Segen’s voice.
“They are asking for money every minute and they hit us and they put us — they will make us lie down on the floor and you know their feet would be up and they would hit their feet and melt with melted plastic bags,” Estefanos said.
“And so that way they cannot stand because they will torture their feet, and every day they hang them the way they hang Jesus Christ,” she said.
“What does she mean when they hang them like Jesus Christ?” CBN News asked.
“They hang us the way He was hanged and they take off their clothes. While they are naked they will hang them. And they will just hit them with big bats like all day for hours,” she said.
No Secret to the World
Many of the Etritreans, like Segen and Philip, are Christians. Many don’t survive.
“There are around 7,000 that went through these torture camps and 4,000 that died. Those are huge numbers and I don’t think that the world needs to keep quiet about that,” Shoham said.
Philip miraculously survived and made it to Israel where he received life-saving medical treatment.
The location of these torture camps is no secret.
“Their location and whereabouts is known already by many high officials,” human rights activist Majed El Shafie told CBN News.
“The only way out of this problem is for the international society or the international community to put pressure on the Egyptian government to release the victims, to stop these human traffickers,” he said.
Shafie believes some of the American financial aid to Egypt could be used — with conditions — to help these victims.
“Every American listening to us right now — not only Americans but anybody in the world — can make a difference,” he said.
“You can contact your congressman. You can contact your senator. You can show them that you care about these issues,” he said. “If you send an email, or fax or make a telephone call, he can save a life.”
Who is responsible for the flash flood hit Hindus of Uttrakhand? Shouldn’t it be investigated? How illegal construction near the river bank and construction of road through the mountains led to the landslides. But instead of taking care of that, Government is more concerned about the muslim vote bank as all the investigation agencies are busy in probing the fake encounter case of terrorist Ishrat Jahan. The probe of this case is more important than probing the serial blasts at Bodhgaya. Instead of arresting the terrorists, Government agencies are blaming Pakistan for the blasts so that the muslim vote bank is happy. These so called minority always opposes the Amarnath yatra or Vaishnov Devi yatra which are holy shrines of Hindus, they will come on roads and harm the public property. If ban is imposed on Islam in any of the countries viz. Myanmar, France, etc., they will come on the roads and protest here in India and harm the public property. Some Muslim leader of Hyderabad says that if Police is off duty for 5 minutes, they will slaughter the 80 million Hindus, but gets bail on health grounds. One day this vote bank politics will ruin India and its democracy.
A secret Pakistani report leaked online Monday provides a series of stunning revelations about the life and death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, the long-time Al-Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the United States in 2001.
The report, placed online by the Al Jazeera news network, recounts the testimony of more than 200 witnesses including bin Laden’s family members.
On one occasion during 2002 or 2003, bin Laden was almost caught while headed to a market with his security guard Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti and the guard’s wife Maryam. The car he was riding in – it’s unclear who was driving – was pulled over for speeding, but bin Laden ‘quickly settled the matter,’ according to Maryam’s testimony, and the al-Qaeda leader was once again off and running.
One of bin Laden’s relatives said ‘The Shaikh,’ as he was known, often ‘wore a cowboy hat to avoid detection from above’ by overhead U.S. drones, and that ‘a complete collapse of local governance’ allowed him to hide inside the country for six years before U.S. President Barack Obama gave the order to have him killed in a Navy SEAL raid.
That ‘kill mission,’ Pakistan’s official inquiry declared, was ‘a criminal act of murder which was condemned by a number of international lawyers and human rights organizations.’
‘Due process was deliberately denied the victims,’ the commissioners wrote – referring to bin Laden as a victim – ‘and their killing was explicitly ordered by the President of the US.’
Among the dozen of new details in the report is the revelation that bin Laden and his supporters waited to build an unauthorized third story on the compound until after a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan in 2005.
Of the raid itself, the commission wrote that bin Laden and his youngest wife Amal were together in the bedroom when the U.S. helicopters first arrived.
‘After the evening meal and prayer,’ the account reads, ‘Amal and the Shaikh retired for the night. Shortly past midnight, they were awakened by the noise of what at first sounded like a storm.’
It wasn’t a cloudburst. Minutes later, bin Laden lay dead on the floor.
The report also explores the case of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, a Pakistani physician who used his position as a public health vaccination volunteer to attempt to be admitted into bin Laden’s compound.
Although he failed to get in, Afridi got a good enough look at the complex system of locks on the front door to help the Navy SEALs design a specialized package of explosives designed to blow the door off.
He also provided his CIA handlers with crucial information about the voices of the people inside the compound.
Aftridi ‘met with the CIA operatives [assigned to him] on more than 25 occasions,’ the report concludes, ‘and received approximately Rs. [Rupees] 10 million from them.
10 million Pakistani Rupees is equal to about $100,000.
The Pakistani government arrested Afridi and he remains in prison, sentenced to more than three decades behind bars. Despite the doctor’s key role in the mission’s success, the United States has done little to secure his release.
‘[T]he fact is that he was arrested 3 weeks after the raid during which time the CIA could have ferreted him out of the country.’
Al Jazeera’s release of the commission’s report came on the same day the United States government was exposed for going to great lengths to hide its own collection of information related to the 2011 raid.
The Associated Press gained access to information from the Department of Defense under the Freedom Of Information Act, but only after the Pentagon acknowledged shifting documents to the CIA and purging them from their original files, so it would no longer possess anything it would have to turn over to the news agency.