It was a perfectly normal day for me and my family. We were going about our daily business when suddenly and without warning, we were raided by a Police SWAT team. Neither myself nor my husband knew what was happening. They asked my husband to go with them. Scared and confused, he did as he was told, while the Police searched the entire house.
A solicitor called and explained that my husband had been arrested on suspected terrorism charges, despite no evidence being found. My husband was held in prison without trial and was told it could be indefinite. The new legislative laws stated that people like my husband could be held in prison forever. The whole family just went into shock because the thought of not being able to see my husband was too much to cope with.
My husband’s time inside Belmarsh prison was so bad that he fell into deep depression and tried to commit suicide. Because of this, he was one of 12 inmates who were granted bail but were placed under house arrest with extremely strict bail conditions. He had to wear a tag and had a 20 hour curfew daily. For the 9 months my husband was under strict house arrest, he wasn’t allowed any visitors or any form of contact with the outside world. He wasn’t even allowed access to a phone or laptop. If there were incidents at home or with my daughters at school that my husband needed to be aware of, we couldn’t even let him know for fear he would end up back inside prison.
My once cheerful husband became severely depressed and turned into a shell of his former self. He tried to commit suicide several times because he couldn’t cope with his situation. Our future as a family was bleak and very uncertain. The family was devastated, since my husband was always known to be a strong, cheerful man, so to see him like this was really hard to take.
The whole ordeal destroyed my husband’s health so badly that he became wheelchair bound. His time in prison caused his weight to plummet. This coupled with him being forced into isolation for up to 23 hours at a time left him very weak. As a child he was afflicted with polio, and as such, his already weak body couldn’t cope with the pressures placed upon it and now he can no longer walk.
Even after all charges were dropped and he was released, there was little to feel excited or hopeful about. My husband is not only physically broken, but emotionally too. His release should have filled me and my family with hope, and even though we are grateful that he is finally out of that nightmare, we feel as if we’re stuck in limbo.
We’ve already been told that if any other incidents of terror happen in the UK, my husband could easily go back to prison – even if he hasn’t done anything. When my husband was released, he was released because of lack of evidence. How the authorities can take over your life and continually strike fear into your life moving forward is beyond me.
Because of his ordeal, my husband no longer trusts the system or the authorities. The authorities have briefly mentioned a possibility of deporting my husband back to Algeria where he is originally from. This is a country known for its poor human rights and violation of prisoners and their rights. We feel like we’re constantly living under a blanket of fear and uncertainty.
We would prefer to move to another country – but because of my husband’s record of being labelled as a terrorist, no country will have us now. His disability means we have additional pressure in our home and we just don’t know what this means for our financial future and wellbeing.
Throughout everything, the only thing that kept us going was the emotional and financial support we received from HHUGS. HHUGS was there when no one else was. They helped cover the school fees for a whole year for my children so I didn’t have to worry about them.
They arranged for some sisters to do food drops for the family in times of need. My children were so scared throughout the ordeal that HHUGS even arranged karate classes for my girls to help instil some confidence in them.
Other than this, the regular meetings with HHUGS have been our emotional backbone. Despite our future looking bleak, all hope is not lost because we know we have the support of HHUGS to help us through the hard times. Truly Allah helps you out of every situation – and when you are going through something as severe as this, even having someone to listen to is a huge relief.
I don’t know what the future holds for us, but I am positive that with the support of HHUGS, we will Insha’Allah be able to get through this.