This Syrian Couple Fell In Love Behind Bars – And It’s Amazing

A new documentary is telling their love story...

Peering through a small hole in the wall, Raghda and Amer first saw each other when they were imprisonned in neighbouring cells, way back in 1994.

Raghda was 25 and an activist who believed that Assad’s rule over Syria was wrong. But her political protests were considered treasonous, and frequently saw her locked up. Meanwhile, Amer was a Palestinian freedom fighter. He’d been put in jail for getting involved with anti-governmental groups.

For weeks, they talked to each other through the hole. They saw each other’s beaten-in faces, and spoke about their beliefs, their hopes and their fears for their country.

‘Women from all sects, veiled and liberated alike, atheist or devout, took part in the revolution alongside men, and killed, worked in the planning of and in all the fields of the revolution,’ recalls Raghda of that period of her life. ‘Women never stopped fighting next to men, there was never any such distinction.’

When they were eventually released from prison, they got married, and continued to protest the regime. Over time, they had two sons – Kaka and Bob – and Amer decided to put his placards down and prioritise his family.

But Raghda continued her fight – and in 2009 she was was sent to prison again, while promoting her autobiography. And as Amer began a long, hard campaign to set her free, documentary-director Sean Macallister heard about their story, and began to film behind-the-scenes.

Now, six years on, the documentary is due to be aired on BBC at the end of September (and is currently being shown at cinemas across the country). Following Amer as he desperately tries to free his wife from prison, it deals with the couple’s relationship while she’s locked up – and how it starts to crumble following her release.

‘My difficulties with Amer increased,’ Raghda told the Telegraph in a recent interview. ‘I had to be at home all the time, as a mother constantly stuck to her children. I wanted to take care of all domestic chores, and all other human matters – I was trying to give my best, to my family and to the revolution.’

‘All mothers – I’m not just talking about myself – feel strongly about her own children and also about other people’s children. There is never a division between the people who rise to protest in liberation movements all over the world, whether they are fathers, mothers, or children. A person is a person, regardless of their family responsibilities.’

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