Met apologises as terror raid brothers speak out
The man shot during an anti-terror raid on his home in east London has spoken of how he thought he was going to be killed.
Mohammad Abdul Kahar said he believed his family was being robbed when police burst into his house in Forest Gate at dawn ten days ago – it was not until he was taken outside, after he was shot in the shoulder, that he realised the intruders were officers.
The 23-year-old was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000, as was his brother, 20-year-old Abul Koyair. However, both men were released without charge at the weekend, after no evidence of any terrorist activities was found.
“I was begging the police, saying I couldn’t breathe. The police kicked me in the face and said ‘shut the f**k up’.I thought they were going to shoot me or shoot my brother,” Mr Kahar told a press conference this lunchtime.
Speaking afterwards, assistant Metropolitan police commissioner Andy Hayman apologised for the “hurt we may have caused”, in recognition of the “disruption and inconvenience” caused to Mr Kahar’s family and his neighbours.
He said he was unable to comment on specific circumstances surrounding the shooting while the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was carrying out its investigations.
But he stressed the police had to take “appropriate precautions to protect themselves” when dealing with suspected terrorism, which explained the need for “a robust operation, which required a fast armed response”.
The Met and particularly its commissioner, Ian Blair, have been under pressure to explain why the raid, which involved 250 officers, was necessary given that no evidence of any terrorist activity has yet been found.
Today’s press conference, in which the brothers spoke out for the first time about their experiences, has only added to that pressure, although despite their claims to have been hit, the brothers said they did not blame the police in general for the raid.
However, Mr Koyair revealed he had applied to be a community support officer and his family had backed him, adding: “Now, I do not want to be associated anywhere near the police. My mum and my dad don’t trust the police any more.”
Asked whether Sir Ian should resign over the affair, he said: “We feel whoever is responsible should be put to justice – whoever gave the order for this to happen, Sir Ian Blair, whoever.”
His brother said: “I don’t blame the full police but blame the people responsible for them. I have no grudge against them all – they’re making a living, like I’m making a living.”
He added: “I believe I shouldn’t have been shot, that’s all I’m saying.”
Asked about reports that they were considering suing the Met police for damages, the brothers insisted money “is not an issue right now”, but said “justice” must be done and asked for an apology for the treatment they received.
In a statement this afternoon, Mr Hayman said: “In tackling the terrorist threat in the UK the police service is trying its utmost to work closely with all communities and in particular the Muslim community.
“Given the nature of the threat I understand that some communities may be feeling confused or indeed angry with how the police are trying to ensure all our safety.”
But while no evidence had been found to back up the “specific intelligence” that prompted the raid, he said concerns over public safety meant the police had to act.
He added: “It is communities that will defeat terrorism. The police service is committed to working tirelessly with all communities to secure the safety of us all.”