A British doctor who went missing last year on a humanitarian mission to Syria has been allegedly tortured in an infamous military prison – and he was only located after his distraught mother spent months in the war-torn country searching for him.
Dr Abbas Khan, 31, an orthopaedic surgeon, is alleged to have been systematically beaten by interrogators and held in captivity for eight months in a pitch black underground cell.
The married father-of-two was arrested on November 22 after crossing the Syrian border without a visa and treating wounded civilians in a field hospital in a rebel-held district of Aleppo.
His fate remained unknown for months, near enough forgotten, but his mother succeeded where British diplomats and politicians failed, and managed to find him after travelling to Damascus alone.
Speaking from Damscus on her mobile phone, Fatima Khan, 57, told the Daily Mail: “He was like a skeleton and could barely walk. He told me that he had been through eight months of hell and at times had simply wanted to die. He was getting trouble from both sides. As well as the guards, other prisoners turned on him just because he is British. He told them that he was there to help their mothers and children.”
Mrs Khan from Mitcham, South-West London, arrived in the Syrian capital in July and has remained there on her own, vowing not to return to Britain until her son is released.
She pressured officials to transfer Dr Khan from Far’ Falastin detention centre just outside Damascus to another jail. She said Dr Khan is now being treated humanely and she is able to visit him once a week.
She added: “When I first saw him he was in tears and hugged me. He was saying, “Please Mum, please take me home.”
Mrs Khan is unwilling to discuss her son’s imprisonment in Far’ Falastin in any form for fear of inflaming an already highly loaded scenario.