Brothers wrongly held as POWs want to go home


  • Nation
  • Friday, 02 May 2003

By Shahanaaz Habib in Baghdad

BASRA: Brothers Yazan and Quzai Ali Hamed are desperate to get home to Jordan but their passports are in the hands of US troops who had seized them in Baghdad on April 10. 

The students were detained as prisoners of war and released in Umm Kasr two weeks later without their passports and money. 

“I don’t know anybody here. What can I do?” asked Yazan, who had come from Umm Kasr to here to seek help from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to get his and his brother’s passports. 

“We told them we were students and showed them our college IDs but they picked us up anyway because they thought we were the Fedayeen fighters from Jordan,” he said.  

“But we are not. I have been in the school of nursing here for almost four years and my brother is studying mathematics. 

“We could not go home to Jordan before the war because it was too expensive. It costs about US$1,600 (RM6,080) to go to Amman and there were three of us brothers,” said Yazan. 

The third brother, Muiz, managed to hold on to his passport.  

Yazan said that when the US troops detained them, they were ordered to strip down to their shorts and singlets and made to walk barefoot. 

“For (the) first three days, we were not given food. We had some water but it was not enough for all of us to drink,” he said. 

Quzai said the US troops handcuffed them and treated them like animals.  

“We were made to squat with our hands over our heads,” he said, adding that there were 10 other students from Jordan and Palestine with them who were also mistakenly detained as Fedayeen fighters. 

Quzai said that when they were released in Umm Kasr and found British troops there, they asked about the return of their passports, but “they told us they did not have them.” 

A frantic mother, Kisma Mutashar, was also waiting to see someone from the ICRC to get news about her 12-year-old daughter.  

She said Rana, who had a bullet in her skull, was taken away on a humanitarian flight to have it removed.  

She said they were both in the garden in the town of Amara when a bullet hit Rana.  

“She fell, vomited and passed out,” she said, adding that when an X-ray was taken and shown to the US troops, they arranged for her to be taken for treatment overseas.  

“I saw the plane take off with Rana and her father. But I don’t where they went and I don’t know how she is doing. 

“I am her mother. I need to know how my daughter is. 

“It’s been a month now, and I can’t sleep or eat. I’m just waiting to hear about her,” she said.– JMTM 

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