Sunday, 17 July 2011

10th July - and still in prison

Breakfast for 6 was 2 yoghurt pots and 6 green peppers. We have some stale bread from 2 days ago and some jam. Water is drunk luke warm from the tap.

Last night we discovered that we can switch our lights on and off by means of the top of a mop, a spoon and most importantly directions from those in the cell opposite. This is a vital ritual because at times our lights are left on all night, or at least until the small hours. An arbitary punishment we presume, like having coffee but no hot water.

My small compact mirror, broken thanks to one of the many bag searches, is used for spying up and down the corridor. We have an opening in the cell door through which a hand can be extended, and thus we can make out what is going on beyond our own door. It helps to have this small extension to our little room, so cut off can we feel through the many hours of being locked in. The room definately feels smaller as the days go by, but we have discovered that the guards only count us, they are not sure who we are, and fast movements when the doors are open have enabled nationalites to get together, facilitating easier conversation and surely helping as one of the creature comforts we know we lack.

It is hot, and we do have fans. Big industrial fans making noise you can barely speak over. Some do not work, others barely work. Some are so strong that they blow you almost out of bed. We restrict the use of ours so that we can speak. Today we have managed to swap a few people around. 1 British (me), 2 Americans, 1 Belgian who speaks very good english, 1 French similarly, and 1 French whose English is not so strong. Its nice to have new faces, but the guards are getting more beligerent than ever because they know what we are up to, but cannot enforce change because we are often saying we are someone else, often cannot actually recognise our own photocopied passport photos and most of our names have lost quite a lot in the translation. Today I appear to be Anna.

We catch up on one another's stories. Some were bound hand and foot at the airport. In the room in which the 40 or so were detained at the airport, cameras were set up, then about 17 men in army uniforms marched in, grabbed some poor man sitting more or less in the middle of the room (possibly because he had North African looks), and tried to create a riot. Of course everyone tried to pull him back. Chairs were overturned, one girl was punched in the face, but a riot was not produced. I dare say that something incriminating can be made from the film though. Thoughts of the Mavi Marmara come to mind.

Some of us have been allowed some exercise outside and some have seen the lawyer, a volunteer Palestinian who asks for no money. The prison guards bark at him most roughly, but he has a tolerant attitude. Not much came out of the meeting except he did say we must sign nothing.

Our lawyer also says that a judge must charge us within 4 days, but that he can also extend the time limit for 4 more days. He advised me to submit a petition against the police who attacked me at the airport.

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