TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Syrian government has finally released freelance German journalist based in Indonesia, Armin Wertz, during the beginning of this month. Wertz, who is a contributor for Indonesia’s Tempo English Edition wasmagazine was captured by Syrian forces last May.
"After almost no news for five months, we are extremely relieved and happy with Wertz’s release," said Richard Alexander, Tempo English Edition editor, yesterday.
During his detainment, Wertz told German news portal Frankfurter Rundschau that he was never tortured yet the poor condition of the cells caused the 68-year-old man to often suffer from severe allergic reactions. He lost five kilograms because he was only fed rice and bread during his imprisonment.
Behind bars, Wertz often sang various tunes, especially from his childhood, to relieve himself from boredom and retain his sanity. He also met prisoners from various countries. His cellmate was a Turkish man. He also met two other German citizens, a man and a woman, who were rebels against the Syrian government.
Wertz does not know why he was finally released. Not long before he was able to enjoy his freedom, one of the prison guards said something about chancellor Angela Merkel’s participation in talks over Syria in St. Petersburg, Russia, being behind his release.
FR | DER TAGESSPIEGEL | SITA PLANASARI AQUADINI