An all-female police unit for the Islamic State reportedly tortured a woman by clamping her chest with a bear trap-like contraption as punishment for breastfeeding in public.
They are known as the al-Khansa brigade, a female religious police group that has been striking fear in the hearts of citizens in Raqqa, Syria.
Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, a group of journalists in Raqqa who risk their lives by documenting the many crimes of ISIS, claim that the malicious spiked clamp was used on a 24-year-old mother after she was arrested for breastfeeding her child in the city centre.
The woman, who was given the name Batol to protect her identity, shared her horrific story.
“I was in the market buying a few items when Khansa battalion came and arrested me on the grounds that the niqab which I was wearing does not meet Sharia requirement because it was transparent,” Batol said. “They took me to the ‘Hesba’ headquarters in the city, and escorted me to the torture chamber, then they asked me to choose between a whip or a ‘biter.’
“I did not know what a ‘biter’ was and I thought it (was) a reduced sentence, I was afraid of whipping, so I choose the ‘biter,’ then they brought a sharp object that has a lot of teeth and held me, placing it on my chest and pressing it strongly, I screamed from pain and I was badly injured,” she continued. “They later took me to the hospital.
“I felt that my femininity has been destroyed completely, we (can) no longer afford to live this way, I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument, there were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation is tragic.”
The al-Khansa brigade has recruited dozens of British women in recent months and actively brags about their torturing methods and executions on social media. They also boast about managing brothels where thousands of Yazidi sex slaves are allegedly imprisoned and raped on a daily basis.
In September, Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, a journalist for Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, told VICE News that many of the women in al-Khansa are foreigners “from the UK, from the U.S., Dutch, Chechen.”
Raqqawi said that the brigade is hindering his campaign’s ability to report on the happenings in Raqqa.
“If you are taking photos and one of the women from al-Khansa is looking at you, they will catch you immediately, and you’ll be executed immediately,” Raqqawi said. “This is a big problem for us.”
A man told the activist group that he was whipped and thrown in a cell just for smoking a cigarette, an act which has been banned under the Islamic State’s regime.
“The room was full of blood and they flogged me 40 times and threw me in a cell, there were a lot of detainees,” said 25-year-old Sami. “When I looked at them I saw detah in their eyes and their situation was pitiful.
“During the three nights I spent at the headquarters, I heard the screams of women and men who ISIS is torturing,” he continued. “To hear the screams of the people of my city when they are being tortured at the hands of strangers is a torture of another type, which has destroyed my dignity.
“It seems that this city is no longer ours and we have become strangers here, then I began to seriously consider leaving it.”