Jerusalem Report

The sound of torture

An Israeli filmmaker documents the horrifying saga of Eritrean refugees held for ransom in Bedouin torture houses in Sinai.

hostage
Photo by: COURTESY KEREN SHAYO / SOUND OF TORTURE
 WHEN MERON Estefanos arrives outside a cluster of Bedouin houses in the Sinai desert, she knows that in the basements of the wellbuilt two-story buildings kidnapped Eritrean refugees are chained to the ground. She has spoken to them on the phone and heard the men scream while being tortured with burning coals. She has heard the women weep over being repeatedly raped. And from talking to the kidnappers themselves, she knows that they will kill these hostages, as they have done to others in the past, unless they are paid a $25,000 ransom fee or more for each hostage.

Disguised as a Bedouin woman, Estefanos is wearing a black robe with a niqab covering her face. Were this a Hollywood movie, she undoubtedly would find a way to burst into the premises and rescue the hostages.



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