There have been so many stories of Middle East crackdowns recently that one can quickly become inured to the troubling accounts in the media. Head over to The Guardian, though, to read a Syrian called Adnan's account of his detention--a striking reminder of just how different protests in Syria are from protests, say, in the U.S., or any country operating with a more liberal legal system.
We were thrown in the back of an army truck and taken to the base on the outskirts of Damascus. We were put in a room and beaten from 4pm to 4am. Can you imagine? For 12 hours without sleep. . ... The whole experience is built around humiliation. We were blindfolded. We were shouted at. We were only allowed to the toilet once a day, for three seconds. We had to strip down to our underwear and someone would stand outside the door counting. If you didn't finish within three seconds you were beaten. I often didn't go; I was too worried. We were given water and food, but you don't want to drink when you can't go to the toilet.
We were taken out of the cell to be beaten and I was interrogated several times. One time they took us to a room with an electric chair. I said no, this is too much, not this.
(Above, an image from the AP " taken with a mobile phone, through a car windscreen, showing Syrian security forces, centre, with armed traffic police, left and right, at a check point, in Damascus, Syria, Sunday, April 24, 2011.")