by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 10 – Arrested!
Handcuffed, Marco is taken outside and pushed into the back of one of the police vehicles.
While he was upstairs in the manager’s office, other police officers searched Marco’s apartment.
One of them shows the senior policeman what they have found: a rebel flag and some ammunition, obviously from Amir’s room.
Marco realises he is in serious trouble. He wishes he had never come to Libya. Suddenly his family and friends seem very far away!
Three policemen get into the car, one of them sits in the back next to Marco. The car starts and Marco is taken to a building in the center of Tripoli. There are guards at the gate, and the few windows Marco can see have metal bars.
The car stops in the internal courtyard of what Marco now realises is a prison. The police pull Marco from the car and march him through a door and down some stairs.
On the lower floor are cells full of young Libyans, perhaps rebels or protesters. There’s no space to lie down or even sit. A guard opens one of the cell doors. The policemen remove Marco’s handcuffs and push him into the cell.
Some of the young men speak to him in Arabic, but Marco cannot understand what they are asking him. He asks if anyone knows English, or Italian, but no one in the crowded cell seems to understand him.
As sitting is impossible, there’s nothing Marco can do but wait…
After a couple of hours he hears a guard call his name. He pushes through his fellow prisoners to the bars at the front of the cell, and the door is opened.
He steps out into the corridor, where the English-speaking police officer who questioned him in the manager’s office is waiting.
The policeman informs Marco that he is to be interrogated by the general of police who is in charge of the city’s security.
Marco is handcuffed again and taken upstairs to a sunlit office on the first floor.
Marco is told to stand in front of a large desk in the center of the empty room.
He and the English-speaking policeman wait together in silence.
Marco is anxious for the police general to arrive and the questioning to begin.
He will explain that there has been a terrible mistake. Surely the general will understand that the flag and the ammunition belong to Amir, not him….