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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Dr. Mohammed Zakariya Naddaf: #CaesarPhotos Victim Profile

Dr. Mohammed Zakariya Naddaf:
#CaesarPhotos Victim Profile
April 22, 2016
last edits April 23

Dr. Mohammed Zakariya Naddaf ( محمد زكريا النداف ) was a professor of Sharia law (Islamic law) at Damascus University, until he was abducted and wound up a fatality of "torture" in whatever system the "Caesar photos" document. 
As presented: "Regime Kills Damascus University Professor," by  All4Syria (Opposition website) via Syrian Oberver, June 26th, 2014. This says he was recently killed, about a year after his arrest, which happened "about a year ago." He was detained with family (unsure number) for revolutionary activities, it says, and his wife was released 6 months later. The fate of any others is left unclear. What this is based on is also unclear. For his death, they cite "a short note" recently recieved by his family - ostensibly from the government - "saying that he had died in the prison, without giving any further information."

VDC martyr entry #1 : Date of death:  2014-06-24, detention-torture.
Notes: "Known as (Abo Omran), Martyred under torture in the regime's army prisons after a year in detention, date of death is not accurate, the body was not received by the family" The date is noted, as it usually is, 'not accurate.' But it should be close, per the reports. The 24th sounds like a good guess.

Arrest Went Unnoticed?
What strikes me as especially interesting here is the record and reports of his arrest - apparently non-existent. A prominent Islamic scholar in Syria is arrested by the government for plotting against it, with family members including at least his wife, sometime in early-mid 2013. There should be some news reports about the arrest, some comments that he should be freed, etc. If not from Amnesty International, at least somewhere on Facebook, etc.

But so far in English and Arabic I can't find any note of his arrest or even missing status. For the first six months, as far as I can see, there was no news. Then his wife was released, and might have alerted someone that Mohammed remained behind bars. But still no one remembered or spoke of the story Then all opposition people seemingly forgot about it, if they ever knew, for another six months. Then suddenly they say he's dead, after a year in jail that sounds like it was well-known. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

There's no clear VDC detainee entry to mark a report of it. The closest is a Mohammed Khear Naddaf, which is pretty close, in a few ways - detained early-mid 2013 in the Damascus area. If so, a shady Facebook post names him and a few others allegedly seen inside an AF intel prison, in Harasta, by April 23, 2013. The location is interesting: detained in Harasata could explain why someone disappeared when he drove near or in Douma (or lived in Zamalka, as this guy allegedly did). In case it matters (most likely not but maybe), these are:
- Qusai Doumani ( قصي دوماني ) from Saqba
- Mohammad Khair Naddaf ( محمد خير النداف ) of Zamalka (far from Kisweh)
- Wael Sraqba (وائل سراقبي) from al-Amara (in the Old City?)  - VDC entry
- Taleb al-Nahas ( طالب النحاس ) from Douma - VDC entry
- Nour al-Shaouiya ( نور الشاوي  ) (a female name) from al-Tal (north of Damascus)

I tried finding any of these other names among likely "Caesar photo" victims, but so far they don't seem to match. So likely, neither should he. But that is quite a similar name, and again it's odd how he would just vanish without any mention... unless he was someone the opposition wanted gone.

His Wife?
As said, Dr. Naddaf's unnamed wife was released (in an exchange?) six months after she was arrested with him. There is a  Mariam Naddaf listed by VDC, with detention Date 2013-06-29 - but that's inaccurate, as always. Says she was released on Sept. 29, 2013 after questioning, not after 6 months. However, she's one on this list of 13 women with this detention date - 9 share the note "Questioned by the investigating judges at the Anti-Terrorism Court in Damascus on 2013-09-29 and d" (incomplete) Arrest date here is a basic '3 months before' the release date - standard rounding-off. Area from is unknown for all these, Damascus area is most likely.

Besides, that shouldn't be his wife, who would usually have her maiden (father's) name, not her husband's. She could be an adult daughter, another relation, or unrelated. But the timing stands out.

Death Confirmed - But A Year Earlier
When the Caesar photos were released in March, 2015, his photo was recognized - proving that he had died long before reported (Caesar stopped collecting photos in August, 2013). This was reported wherever and noted by the VDC with martyr entry #2 (post-mortem photo now, at right). This adds that he was from Kesweh (southwest of Damascus, between Daraya and Deraa). Date of death  (meaning date of ID): 2015-03-16. It's not a certain match, but good enough to presume as genuine.   

SAFMCD photo code # 796842, prisoner 3350 of branch 215. The tape is pretty unreadable, but a card with that prisoner number (in E.Arabic numerals) is visible in the fuller photo there. It's from the folder dated 24-6-2013 (photo #2 in the sequence).  The date suggests it should be between June 24 and July 7. He's probably been dead one day or less.

We can see he was not starved, perhaps no time for that, if he was abducted in late June. No torture is evident here. But he is purple (cyanotic) and might have moderate eye damage. Like most victims of this 'torture,' I think it was something like chlorine gas that actually killed him. 

Included in Amnesty Deal?
Scandal! All4Syria had reported the news of professor Naddaf's death "came just fifteen days after a presidential amnesty was issued for detainees who were arrested on the background of the revolution. The martyr was supposed to be included in the amnesty." But instead, his family got that note. This makes it sound like the Mukhabarat killed him then, to make doubly sure he wouldn't be released. They also planned to not release anyone, it was presumed. 

But it turns out he was dead just about one year earlier. The "Assad regime" allegedly killed him, and at least it seems his body passed through their hospital 601. Most likely, I think, he was documented as an unidentified body they found, along with so many others - he would be numbered between #8,300 and 8,350, just at Hospital 601.

It might take a while, but his family, or anyone willing and able to dig, could identify that body as the missing professor. In fact, he most likely would be identified, not long after this ID photo was taken. Most likely, everyone involved knew long before this 2014 announcement, and long before the same-time amnesty offer.

Yet, they say the government was offering to release a man who was dead a year. Was there an actual amnesty list circulated? If so, was it authentic or fake? Did it contain his name, or any names? Or is his inclusion simply as a prisoner, and they thought all were set to be freed? Or was this just the thing to say as that was in the news - at the same time someone decided the news of the doctor's death needed to be broken, but claimed as just then.

This story put a negative spin on president Assad's amnesty deal, which Rebels didn't like or trust. He offered it as a goodwill gesture following his overwhelming victory in the presidential election. This news report gives some details of what was offered, and it mentions no names or even classes of people slated for release. Some would get shortened sentences, and maybe some would become short enough to be freed right away, but it wasn't promised. Importantly, they offered a total lack of arrest for some fighters who surrendered. "Those behind taking hostages will also be pardoned, SANA said, if they “release their captives safely and without any ransom or hand (hostages) over to the authorities” within a month."

Is Dr. Naddaf one of those refused amnesty by Assad, or one of those hostages 'released' by terrorists with no interest in the offer? They didn't wait the full month if so, but about 2 weeks.This "note saying that he had died in the prison, without giving any further information" - if they really did receive such a note, who really put that in their mailbox? 

Who would want him Dead?
In general, agents of chaos are the first suspect for brutish acts like these. But All4Syria said kin 2014 he was arrested for "revolutionary activities." But they also described him as "a moderate man of science and religion," not the sound of a natural supporter of the Sunni extremist uprising. He was known for his gentle nature and eloquence, they say. And we can note he was at least tolerated at Damascus University until his murky abduction.

What was his area of emphasis in sharia law? Shia or Sunni versions? A supporter of it, or critic of it? Or a bit of both? For Saudi-Taliban-ISIS style Sharia, or some kind of "moderate" infidel version like Muammar Gaddafi's?

No sectarian statements, even mild ones, are cited. No anti-government statements, even mild ones, are cited. His revolutionary activities must have all been secret or - of course - non-existent. Not that it would be proof either way if these existed; it might be seen as reason for the government to arrest him, but it would not be reason enough to shield him from Islamists. In fact,any motive for "Assad" might put him in their targets (easier to blame on "Assad" that way),

So ... for what it's worth, some raw material an Arabic speaker with more background in religion and politics in the region might make something of (from my first pass with this guy at ACLOS): a thing he wrote in 2011 on Shia and "twelver" beliefs or the intro, didn't try to read it (could not form a great opinion anyway). video posted July 23, 2014 of Dr, Naddaf speaking. posted by Omar Ndaf, likely relation. trans: D. Mohammed Zakaria النداف the mercy of God - the city of good Damascus countryside - a brilliant speech in defense of the messenger of Allah. 


  1. * Khaled Nasouh Omar Mosa Al-Naddaf, 92587 "He known as Abu Abdo. Member in Zamalka coordination" - same photo as used in report (inset), plus a video still, alive.
    In fact, he's listed twice:
    * Khaled Omar Mousa 99453 - Occupation Media Activist - Photographer - Zamalka coordination member


    1. Good catch A. I almost included him and several other Naddafs killed right after kin the Ghouta incident. Relation unknown.

  2. http://ciwclibya.org/syria/sarinmythbrightlylit.html
    The study centers on one building in the East Ghouta district of Kafr Batna (or KB),
    just southeast of Zamalka.
    Early opposition reports said 150 died here (so at least 10% of the total, likely more). MITSM concludes about 120-125 victims are visible in the complex, with “about 100” seen dead; the total number here could be higher, but not lower. [12] Other researchers have geo-located the apparent building in KB. [13]

    kafar batna



    Smuggled photos from #Assad |'s torture camps prove Assad targets #Christians & #Muslims alike. #StandWithCaesar ”



  3. kafar batna - Hospital 601




    soldiers putting bodies in body sacs

    ben davies :Muhamed Tafankji says he wasn't involved in atrocities in Hospital 601, but wore the same gloves as other soldiers.
    Ben Allinson Davies

    1. thax - the Davies post with names might be useful.

  4. Yesterday I crossposted British filmmaker/activist Ben Allinson-Davies’s report on a recent trip to the FSA controlled Idlib region of Syria and got this comment from Alan Haber, a cabinet-maker in Michigan who was one of the early leaders of Students for a Democratic Society:

    Sociopath Media is ashamed to present Daniel Wickham (DW) and Ben Allinson-Davies (BA-D), both residing in the Saudi banana republic of the UK.

    Here is young Michael Myers (BA-D):

    Sorry I was off Twitter for so long. Some *including pro-regime* Turks beat me, then jailed & deported me: https://t.co/SifciO1E7h #Hatay
    — Ben Allinson Davies (@benad36) November 10, 2015


  5. June 11, 2015 “These hospitals provide cover for the crimes of the regime,” said Nawaf Fares, a top Syrian diplomat and tribal leader who defected in 2012.
    “People are brought into the hospitals, and killed, and their deaths are papered over with documentation.” When I asked him, during a recent interview in Dubai, Why involve the hospitals at all?, he leaned forward and said, “Because mass graves have a bad reputation.”

    “Caesar took pictures in the military hospitals. We lived there, 24/7.” Abu Odeh said that some patients were dead on arrival—brought to the facilities in official vehicles or even passenger cars—while others were tortured and killed following admission.
    Posted on January 21, 2014 “Caeser” informed the inquiry team that there could be as many as 50 bodies a day to photograph which required fifteen to thirty minutes of work per corpse.
    Once the bodies were photographed by “Caesar” they were taken for burial in a rural area.


    -“Caesar”: “The place looked like a slaughterhouse”

    Stating that the place “looked like a slaughterhouse”,
    Caesar said he had someone in his section take photographs of a group of bodies to show that the place “looked like a slaughterhouse”.

    The excuse he gave for group photographs to his colleagues was that in case they had missed a body they could go back to the group photograph.

  6. http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2015/06/assad-war-crimes-syria-torture-caesar-hospital

    But in March 2011, Syria’s social fabric started to fray as
    the Arab Spring reached Damascus, and citizens began demanding reform and even revolution.
    The volume of calls to Caesar’s office—requesting photographic documentation—increased rapidly.
    Though he and his team were accustomed to driving out to crime scenes of all kinds, they soon found themselves repeatedly returning to Mezzeh and Tishreen. Like other such sites, these military hospitals became a dumping ground for those held by Syria’s ruthless spy agencies, including Branch 215 (a Damascus sector of military intelligence) and Jawiyya (the Air Force Intelligence branch).


  7. March, 2011 to August, 2013. But the numbers suggest only about 1,000 unidentified bodies - less than 10% of the total implied - were logged between the start and July, 2012.

    1,000 in 15 months is an average of less than 70 a month.

  8. “They have planted bodies before,” he said;
    “they took dead people from Dera’a [in the south] and showed the media bodies in Jisr al-Shughour [near the Turkish border.]”

    Recent reports have cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the false narrative peddled daily by the mainstream international press, in particular information put out by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the LCCs.

    Likewise, accounts of mass defections from the Syrian army and pitched battles between deserters and loyal soldiers appear to be a fabrication, with few defections being confirmed independently.

    Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained and financed by foreign governments are more true than false. [28]

    At a closed briefing in Washington DC in mid-December 2011,
    he confirmed that the US State Department and the SWP-German Institute for International and Security Affairs (a think-tank that provides foreign policy analysis to the German government) were funding a project that is managed by the US Institute for Peace and SWP, working in partnership with the SNC, to prepare the SNC for the takeover and running of Syria.



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