Sidqi Al-Makt: Free at Last
By: Fadi Abu Saada
Published Saturday, August 25, 2012
After spending 27 years in Israeli prisons, Syrian Sidqi al-Makt from the occupied Golan Heights was released on Wednesday to a hero’s welcome in his hometown of Majdal Shams.
Majdal Shams - Sidqi Suleiman al-Makt was born on 17 April 1967 in the town of Majdal Shams in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
He hails from an activist family that lived through the seizure of the Golan in 1967 and experienced the area’s struggle which culminated in the Great Strike of 1982.
Each member of the Makt family was at some point arrested by the Israelis for their role in the struggle against the occupation.
Violent confrontations with the Israeli army and police prompted the two brothers – Bisher and Sidqi – as well as several of their friends to begin organizing a secret resistance movement in the occupied Golan.
This secret organization carried out a series of military operations against the occupation forces and their posts in the northern Golan.
However, after some surveillance, the Israelis were able to arrest the two brothers and their comrades on 23 August 1985.
They were subjected to questioning and torture, and were each sentenced to 27 years in prison, spending most of their time being transferred between Israel’s many penal institutions.
Sidqi Makt’s comrades in the resistance cell were his brother Bisher, Assem Mahmoud al-Wali, Saytan Nimr al-Wali, and Hayel Hussein Abu Zayd.
Makt’s sister, Nihal, campaigns for prisoner rights and has spent much of her life in demonstrations and sit-ins to shed light on the issue of political prisoners.
In the streets and alleyways of Majdal Shams as well as the towns and villages of the Golan, pictures of Sidqi were hung everywhere in preparation for a hero’s welcome, something that the occupation forces wanted to avoid.
On Wednesday morning, the Israeli authorities suddenly released Makt. They called his family by telephone to come and get him from the Yafouri mausoleum at 7am.
They left the released prisoner outside the building, without officially handing him over to his family, the norm in such cases.
According to Makt, the release process “began on Monday evening when Israeli police led him to the Baysan police station, and then to the Golan station in the Katzrin settlement.”
That’s where his family picked him up and headed to their village where a popular reception was held for him in defiance of the occupation.
Makt was not allowed family visits, as both an individual punishment for him specifically and as part of a policy of collective punishment for a large number of his comrades in prison.
He was placed in isolation when he managed to publish an article praising the Lebanese resistance during the July 2006 Israeli war.
Despite the long years in prison, Makt always believed that the Golan will one day return to Syria, and that the heroic resistance of the people of Palestine and Lebanon – together with all the free people of the world – will one day lead to liberation.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.