A Turkish journalist compared his experiences in Israeli and Syrian jails having recently been released from a Syrian prison after a two-month detention period.
Adam Özköse returned to Turkey on Monday and gave his account about his incarceration experiences in Syria and Israel, where he was briefly held in June 2010 together with other activists who arrived in Israel on board the Marmara ship.
"Compared to Syria, Israeli prisons are 5-star hotels," he said. Özköse said that in Syria, he slept on the prison's floor and would occasionally hear people screaming "either out of pain or over their own tragic circumstances."
The Turkish journalist said that as an espionage suspect he was interrogated while blindfolded. "All through the interrogations they cursed the Turkish leaders, called them US collaborators and accused them of betraying Syria," he said.
According to Arab media. Özköse was kidnapped in early March together with fellow journalist Hamid Coskun, after the two entered Syrian territory. They were detained by Assad loyalists who had randomly detected them. Later, the two were transported to a prison in Damascus via helicopter.
A day prior to their release Özköse and Coskun received a visit from an Iranian senior official. According to Özköse, they were turned over to the Iranians at the airport, flown to Tehran and eventually returned to Turkey on a private jet.
A senior official at the Iranian embassy in Ankara confirmed that Iran had played the role of mediator in the case.
Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition reported of the release of two Iranians. However, the Iranian official stressed the two cases were not connected.