‘I just thought “one by one they’re going to kill us” ’ – Mohammed Abdul Kahar tells the media

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The two brothers ABUL KOYAIR and MOHAMMED ABDUL KAHAR, who suffered throughout the press conference from the effect of his injuries
The two brothers ABUL KOYAIR and MOHAMMED ABDUL KAHAR, who suffered throughout the press conference from the effect of his injuries

THE two brothers arrested in the massive raid by about 300 police in Forest Gate have held a press conference in east London, after being released without charge.

The press conference was told that, contrary to many false rumours that have been spread, the brothers have no criminal records.

One of the brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar, said he was having flashbacks and hasn’t been sleeping.

He said he had been shot through the chest and that he thought he was going to die.

His arm was in a sling and he moved very slowly.

His brother, Abul Koyair, sat next to him.

Abul said that, before the raid took place, he had applied to be a community policeman.

Mohammed said: ‘I was woken up at about four in the morning by screams. My younger brother was screaming upstairs.

‘I got out of bed. I just had my boxer shorts on and a t-shirt.

‘As I opened the door it was all dark.

‘I took the lead, because I assumed a robbery was happening. I was coming towards the passageway.

I think at that time my brother was right behind me.

‘He was still screaming at that time and as I took the first step down the stairs I turned around to look at what was down the stairs, and as soon as I turned around I see an orange spark and a big bang.

‘I flew onto the wall. I slipped down. I was on the floor. I saw blood coming down my chest and I saw the hole in my chest.

‘The first thing I was thinking is that an armed robbery is taking place.

‘I could see two of them walking towards me.

‘And there was an object that was flying around my face, so I put my hand over my face.

‘At that time I could see the gunshot wound in my chest and I was begging the police, “Please I can’t breathe’’ and he just kicked me in my face and he kept on saying: “Shut the fuck up!’’

‘I said “Please, I can’t breathe’’.

‘One of the officers, they just slapped me over the face, they said “Just shut the fuck up, stay there, stay there’’.

‘I thought they are going to either shoot me again or they’re going to start shooting my brother, so I just lay there on the staircase for about a minute or something.’

Mohammed told the press conference he heard shouts of “Secure the room! Secure the room!’’

‘They never said a word about police, all they said is “secure the room, secure the room’’.

‘I said to myself: “I’m either going to bleed to death here or they’re going to start shooting me again’’.

So I just kept quiet.

‘One of the officers, after about a minute later, he grabbed my left foot and dragged me down the stairs.

‘My head was banging on the stairs.

‘He just grabbed me and he put me on the shoulder.

‘As he came out of the front door he just dropped me on the pavement.’

Mohammed said it was only when he was outside the house and saw all the police there that he began to realise it was not a robbery.

‘One man got a tissue and put it on my chest and put pressure over it,’ he continued.

‘At that time I knew it was the police because I see a lot of police vans and cars outside the house.

‘I heard them bringing my mum out.

‘She was screaming and crying. I just thought: “One by one they’re going to kill us’’.

‘At that time I thought I was going to die.’

Mohammed was in tears.

He said: ‘The ambulance came, they put me on their bed or something and took me in the ambulance.’

His brother Abul Koyair then spoke.

He said: ‘I initially woke up because I heard glass shatter and at first I thought it was coming from outside.

‘I started shouting to sound the alarm.

‘I got out of my bed. I was slowly coming down the stairs.

‘Then I saw my brother coming out from his room.

‘He had boxer shorts on and was coming down the stairs.’

Abul Koyair said that he was coming downstairs behind his brother and that all of a sudden, as his brother was going down a second set of stairs, ‘I heard a loud bang and there was a big flash.

‘Then after that there was quiet. I thought it was like a dream at first,’ he said.

‘After that, one or two minutes, I realised that this is not a dream.

‘I realised that my own brother got shot for no reason. They tried to murder my brother.

‘After that I saw the officers who were hitting my brother when he’s just got shot.

‘I kept thinking to myself: “Why didn’t they shoot me instead?’’

‘They grabbed me away from my brother, they dragged me down the stairs and they were hitting me.’

Abul Koyair said he was handcuffed, placed on his knees and told to face the ground.

He continued: ‘There were about three officers with guns, surrounding me. They were pointing it at me.’

He said he was trying to find out ‘Is my family okay?’

He added: ‘They were telling me to just shut up and don’t say a word.

‘My mum was screaming “my son, my son’’.

‘I kept saying to the officers: “Please, tell me if my family is okay.’’ They would not answer me.

‘After that they put me in like a boiler suit.

‘At the time I didn’t realise what was going on.

‘They bagged my hands up and my feet and they told me they’re going to press charges on me, on terrorism.

‘The whole time I was thinking I was not there and this was not happening, it was just a dream.’

Mohammed said that at hospital: ‘I was in pain, my whole upper body was burning, like I was on fire.

‘I was screaming, I was saying “please’’.

‘Once I got into the hospital, I think they started to give me some morphine. The pain was just killing me.

‘I was shot through the chest and it came out through the back of the shoulder.

‘They kept me for only one day.

‘I begged them, “Please don’t release me (from hospital)’’.

‘I saw the officers were pressuring the surgeon to “get him out’’.

‘I had no choice. I couldn’t get out of the bed.

‘And they told me when I was leaving, “Do you want a wheelchair?’’ I made a choice to come out walking.

‘They took me to Paddington Green police station.

‘I fainted when I came out of the car.

‘They had to put me in a chair on the yard of the police station. It took me about half an hour to get booked in.’

He added: ‘They were giving me tablets, then the GP came and saw me.’

He said: ‘They kept on asking all the questions about my family; “Is your name Abu Hamza?’’; “Do you know this person, do you know that?’’

‘At the beginning I was curious. I didn’t know the reason why I got arrested.

‘I asked them: “Can you tell me what have I done?’’

‘They kept questioning me about 46 and 48 Lansdown Road.’

Mohammed said the police asked him about ‘10 or 15’ groups and asked him if he recognised the names of them.

He said he hadn’t heard of any of the groups until they said ‘Al Qaeda’.

He said he told the police that was the only group he had heard about, through the television reports and all the publicity about them.

‘They were saying: “Are you a member of Jama Islamia?” They were saying: “Are you a member of this?’’ They kept on telling me, am I a member of a few things.

‘Then at the end they go: “I know it’s going to be a daft question, but are you a member of a white organisation, the Ku Klux Klan?’’

‘They apparently found a paper that says Ku Klux Klan on it and a record, I think it was a song of some artist.

‘I didn’t even know at that time to laugh or be serious.

‘I kept thinking “these people are thinking I’m a white terrorist now!’’

‘They weren’t even joking. They repeated that twice in the interview.’

Mohammed said: ‘They kept on telling me – “Tell us, where?’’

‘I kept saying: “I don’t know what you’re talking about’’.’

Mohammed also said: ‘I work as a collection driver for the Royal Mail full-time and I work part-time as a supervisor at Tesco.

‘All my life I’ve just wanted to work and please my family.

‘I work about 50-60 hours a week and to come and just burst into my house like that and shoot me in the chest and keep on saying I’m a terrorist, it hurts.’

Several reporters put questioned to the brothers, asking them why they thought their family’s home had been raided.

‘I’m in the dark the same as you,’ Mohammed responded.

‘I’ve been asking questions to myself.

‘I’ve been begging them: please, who was it or who did this? I have no idea.

‘In my eyes, in my point of view, the person or the people that said this, they’ve done an act of terrorism to me.

‘They terrorised me and my family.’

He said about the comments made by Prime Minister Blair backing the police operation: ‘That’s the worst, I think the comment that I heard, it’s the most hurting thing.’

Mohammed said Blair’s remarks that he was ‘101 per cent’ for the police raid, felt like he was 101 per cent for ‘the bullet that went in my chest’.

He added: ‘I’m the same age as his son, I’m as innocent as his son as well. I have done nothing.’

Mohammed also insisted: ‘My understanding of jihad is to strive and help people. I don’t see jihad the way these cults think, because I don’t class them as Muslims, I don’t class them as being representative of Islam.

‘The way my father has taught me, the word jihad is is the way you strive, you help people. You go out of your way to help people.

‘Violence is not in my nature, it’s not in my religion.

‘Islam is peace. The word Islam is peace.’

Asad Rehman, from the Newham Monitoring Project, said rumours in the press suggesting one of the family members had demonstrated support for suicide bombers were completely false.

‘That again is one of the many, many smears that this family have had to suffer.

‘That is actually not his brother, his brother was never at that protest, has never been at that protest, and that is again one of the many, many disgusting things that have happened – the same in terms of the fact that they’re saying these brothers have criminal records.

‘Again that tries to diminish the actions of the police in hurting two innocent, and attacking two innocent, families.

‘Let’s state one fact: the brothers do not have a criminal record.’

Mohammed said: ‘I believe the only crime I’ve done in their eyes is being Asian and with a long-length beard.

‘The hurting thing was when they attacked me after I got shot.

‘When they saw my appearance they were getting more happy.

‘I was begging them, I feel ashamed of literally asking them to spare my life and they repeated hitting me.’

He repeated that he had been given no warning that it was the police when they burst into his home.

‘No one said nothing,’ he told the press conference.

‘The first word that was exchanged is when I said: “Please I can’t breathe’’ and the first word they said is “Shut the fuck up’’.’

Responding to more questions, he said he didn’t struggle with the police and that the shot was not an accident.

He told reporters: ‘He looked at me straightaway and shot, straightaway I turned the steps. We both had eye contact, he shot me straightaway and I fell on the floor.

‘I was in shock. I didn’t even know I got shot until I saw my wound,’ he added.

Abul Koyair said: ‘I applied to be a community police officer.

‘They gave me a confirmation letter, which I received from them.

‘My family was behind me in what I wanted to do.

‘Now I think all that abuse has changed – they don’t want me to be associated with any, or near, police.

‘I feel my mum, my dad, they don’t trust police any more.’

Mohammed said: ‘I just want justice for me, my family, everyone.

‘I want the least thing for them to do is make an apology.

‘No one even had the decency to say “We apologise that this happened’’ – even when I was getting discharged; not even a word of sorry from the head officer or anyone that was dealing with the case.’

Abul Koyair said: ‘We believe that whoever is responsible should be put to justice.’

Mohammed said that his entire family was traumatised and added that he felt as if a bullet had been aimed at every member of his family.

He said: ‘First and foremost we need justice and some form of apology to me and my family.

‘I don’t think it was fair to get a bullet in my chest.

‘It’s ruined my life, from the time they entered my house.

‘Every day I have flashbacks. I haven’t been sleeping. I’m on medication.

‘I want everyone involved and who gave the order for the raid and for the shot to go off to apologise as well.’

Abul Koyair said he was ‘really upset’ when he heard about the rumours that were publicised that he had shot his own brother.

‘I would never lay a finger on my brother,’ he said. ‘I would rather kill myself, if it was permitted in Islam.

‘I would never lay a finger on my brother.’

Asad Rehman from the Newham Monitoring Project said that Mohammed was lucky not to have been fatally wounded.

‘The trajectory of the bullet meant the bullet didn’t penetrate his lung or heart and exited from the back of his shoulder,’ he said.

He added: ‘Every single person was handcuffed and brought out.

‘The family was assaulted.

‘There’s a hidden story and also one of their neighbours at number 48.

‘They both say exactly the same thing, that they thought they were being subjected to an armed robbery.’

Mohammed warned: ‘There’s a possibility of the next family getting attacked.

‘I don’t see this as the end, I see this as starting.’

He continued: ‘It’s been hell. They put fear in me day after day after day.’

He said that he was released after an independent doctor came to see him last Friday night.

‘I was just happy I was going back to my family.

‘I knew they made a mistake from the time they entered my house.

‘I’m from a law-abiding family.

‘I was born and bred in east London. I love my town.

‘All the way through my detention I was thinking, “they’re going to frame me, they’re going to frame me’’.

‘I’ve done nothing to them, nothing to the country.

‘It’s not only an apology, I want everyone to be brought before the court and find out why I was shot.

‘I feel more happy I’m getting support from my own community and I say thankyou to everyone in Forest Gate and Newham who believed I am innocent.’

A lawyer for the family said she had been allowed into the house on Saturday and described it as a ‘very eerie feeling’.

She said the house had a feeling of people who had gone through it with a ‘fine tooth comb’.

She said there were many holes drilled into walls and ceilings and that the garden was a wreck.

‘There’s just a sense of violation, of going through somebody’s home in that very detailed way.

‘Everything has been stacked up, packed up or put into bags.’

There will be a demonstration in Newham this Sunday, June 18.

Asad Rehman from the Newham Monitoring Project said the whole family and their neighbours were ‘severely traumatised’.

‘They have had guns being pointed at their heads and elderly people being handcuffed,’ he said. ‘Let them now have some peace.’