Hania’s Story

Hania fled years of persecution in Syria

She had been subject to terrifying abuse in Syria, first from her husband and then from state officials whom he was able to manipulate.

Her husband comes from an extremely wealthy and well-connected family, and he emotionally and physically abused Hania from the first days of their relationship. When she was pregnant, this abuse became a daily occurrence.

By the time she had her second baby, Hania’s husband had abandoned her. But he refused to grant her the freedom of a divorce, and instead the abuse continued.

On one occasion, Hania’s husband raped her in front of two of his friends. On another, her husband burned their son with cigarettes. She was terrified for the safety of her children. Hania sought help from the police many times, but because of his family connections they were unwilling to help.

In the years that followed, Hania’s husband used his influence to have her imprisoned several times. The first time, framed for theft, she was detained for three days in a tiny, over-crowded cell in the United Arab Emirates, during which time she could neither eat nor use the toilet.

After returning to Syria, ten security officials took her from her home and to a rat-infested underground prison, where guards took it in turn to beat the prisoners. Hania was released only after being forced to sign documents given to her by the guards. Doctors who examined her at the time recorded internal bleeding, and that wounds from the beatings had become infected.

Hania was not safe anywhere in the region.

Her husband was able to track her movements even outside Syria, and eventually she was stopped crossing the border with Lebanon. She was driven through the desert, and imprisoned in a remote facility of underground rooms.

Surrounded by other prisoners, Hania was beaten, slapped and whipped, often in the pitch dark. “I wondered  whether I would see daylight again. I heard screams like I’ve never heard,” Hania told her Asylum Aid solicitor.

She was only able to escape after giving up money and her house to her guard.

Hania fled first to Beirut, but was followed there by Syrian officials. She was still in danger. Barely a month later, friends arranged for her to fly to the UK, where she claimed asylum.

Asylum Aid worked with Hania to make detailed representations to the Home Office about everything she had undergone, and the grave danger of further detention and torture if she ever returned to Syria.

With our help, Hania was recognised as a refugee in 2011.

Slowly, she is rebuilding her life in safety in the UK.

Thank for you for supporting Asylum Aid – and helping us to help people like Hania.