SHAFAQNA – Spending 10 months as captive for the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), French journalist Didier François said his captors were usually engaged in political discussions and “didn’t even have the Quran”.
“There was never really discussion about texts or — it was not a religious discussion. It was a political discussion,” François told CNN.
“They didn’t even have the Quran; they didn’t want even to give us a Quran.”
Francois is one of the few captives who were released by ISIL last April before the militant group’s expansion in Iraq.
Though he did not wish to elaborate on how he was treated by ISIL, he stressed that local Syrians and Iraqis faced most of the torture at the hands of their captors.
“We could see some of them in the corridors when we were taken to the toilets,” he said, “and we could see some people lying in their blood.”
“You could see the chains hanging, or the ropes hanging, or the iron bars.”
For François, losing freedom was the worst nightmare he faced during those 10 months.
“Of course we were beaten up. But it was not every day. I mean, it’s hard enough — you don’t have to overplay it.”
“It’s hard enough to lose your freedom. It’s hard enough to be in the hands of people who you know are killing hundreds and thousands of local Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans, Tunisians, can put bombs in our countries.”
“It’s terrifying enough. The beating is strong, but it’s not every day. It happens sometimes.”
“If they wanted to wreck you, they could. None of us would have been able to go through if it was beating every day, and torture every day.”
Luckily, Francois was released on April 19, 2014, at the Turkish borders where soldiers found them with their hands bound and blindfolded.
He was released just before ISIL made its shocking sweep through Iraq, capturing vast amounts of territory in June 2014.