Statement By Omar Khyam’s Wife

On Saturday 29th September outside Belmarsh Prison by Muslim Prisoner Support Group held an iftar. There were a series of talks, statements to remind everyone about their duties to the Muslim prisoners and about all the injustices that are taking place. All these people gathered outside in the cold to show their support of their brothers in prison and they opened their fast together. Below is a statement which was read out on behalf of Omar Khyam’s wife regarding recent events in HMP Frankland:

Omar Khyam

All praise is due to Allah Lord of the Worlds. Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu.

You may all know by now who Omar Khyam is. He is a political prisoner who has been detained for 3 years and 6 months. He has been from Belmarsh to Woodhill then to Belmarsh again and now to Frankland which is situated in Durham.  His co-defendants were moved in pairs to different prisons and he was moved singularly to the furthest prison in the UK. Before he was moved we had submitted numerous applications and letters pleading to the prison service and to Belmarsh Prison not to move him so far, but they ignored us and did just that. He was moved to Frankland on the 30thof June and things have never been the same since. He was treated differently from the moment he got there. He was looked upon with hatred and the tension could be felt all round. When he would call me his voice was very different to the way he usually sounded and I knew straight away something was wrong. He wouldn’t tell me clearly what was going on except ‘they all hate me here and it’s only a matter of time before something kicks off’. The phone was cut amidst our conversation which scared me even more as I had no idea what was going on. The solicitor was notified straight away and he put the prison and the prison service on notice of this threat taking place. I found out later that he had been threatened to be stabbed and burnt alive by other in-mates. These were also brought to the attention of the head of security in Frankland and still no action was taken. Eventually Omar had to go into segregation for his own safety before an attack would be carried out on him.

Subhanallah, just 3 days later Eesa Bharot was attacked in the very same prison with boiling water and boiling oil. He had injuries to his face, head, hands and back. He was also punched in his eye causing him loss of sight at the time. No inmate deserves to be attacked, let alone so brutally! He should never have been attacked especially when the guards were on notice that threats are going around and isn’t it their job to protect ALL prisoners, no matter what religion, race or charge. He was denied access to the hospital and was left in his cell for FIVE days with second and third degree burns! This is appalling treatment. But it doesn’t stop there. A few days later another Muslim inmate in Frankland also got attacked! Hussein Osman had his cell put on fire whilst he was in the kitchen cooking. He lost all his belongings, clothes books, everything. So what did the prison service do about this? They did absolutely nothing. They haven’t moved him but kept Osman just a few cells down from his burnt cell.

Omar stayed in segregation for over a month and no action was taken by the prison or prison service to resolve this problem. He was living in a small cell with nothing but a Quran. He had no access to books or even writing material until weeks later. He was given a five minute call once a week and 10 minutes on the exercise yard a day. Segregation is a form of punishment exercised on misbehaving inmates, Omar had no other choice except to withstand these conditions due to fear of his life. How is this a solution? Eventually he came out of segregation because the prison service clearly weren’t planning on doing anything. He is now back on the wing where Eesa was when he got attacked. The inmates who attacked Eesa have both been moved to different prisons, and have gone into segregation straight away. They have made this problem worse as those inmates are now fearful of their lives and will stay in segregation.

Since Omar has gone back to the wing, the guards have now started making things hard for him. They stopped him going to education; they cut his phone calls off, they lose his visiting orders, they won’t give him his property and now they have even stopped the inmates from praying in congregation in their cells. Subhanallah, the in-mates can sit together and smoke, play on the play station, eat etc. but two Muslims can’t pray together. He is still living in fear of his life and has to be on his guard all the time. While he is cooking, in the shower, while eating or on the phone. It’s not easy on the family as we are constantly worried for his safety, if we don’t hear from him we start thinking the worst.

I ask you, how would you feel if this was you brother? Or your husband? Or your son? Would you not be outraged and do something about this injustice that has and is taking place? In 2006 there was an incident in Wellingborough prison where two inmates were attacked with a ‘sharp object’ and suffered minor injuries. The result of that was they were moved to a different prison. Eesa’s wounds are very serious; he could be scarred for life. And yet he is still in the same prison. Are we to sit back and wait until it affects one of our close ones or do we stop this now before it’s too late? Today it’s my husband tomorrow it could be a relative of any of you here today. And even if it doesn’t, we still have a duty to our brothers. We have to stand up for them and at least try to stop this from becoming a more extensive problem. The prison service need to know that we will not stand for this and the Muslim community are watching them very carefully. The prison service shouldn’t be under the impression that the Muslims inside are forgotten about. We, the Muslim community, will hold the prison service directly responsible if there are any further cases of Muslim prisoners being abused or victimised in any way, it won’t be tolerated and we wont sit back allow this to take place.

           

I ask all of you to remember all the prisoners in your duaa’s especially in the month of Ramadan and their families’ inshallah. If any of you want to help then you can write to the governor and ask him why he has allowed this to happen and to move them straight away. The details are on the cage prisoners website or you can get information from Muslim prisoner support group inshallah. I want to say jazaak Allahu khairun for all those people who have already written to the governor and offered their support to us, it is very much appreciated and you are all in our duaa’s inshallah. Wassalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu.

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6 Comments »

  1. Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatoh,

    I am the wife of Abdul Qayyum Jamal, accused of being involved in the exact same activity in Canada as these men have been accused here in Britain. It’s like the same case, only in another place, same accusations, same government agent involvement, same lame evidence.

    And we families have suffered the same humiliation and fear as Omar Khyam’s wife. It was actually her letter on cageprisoners that prompted me to contact her to try to support her in her situation.

    Alhamdulillah none of our men were so horribly attacked by other prisoners, they lived for a year in complete isolation in the same wing, and then when the lawyers were able to fight the communication ban which was responsible for the prison housing them in isolation, a special area was built on the wing so that they are together during the day for a few hours a couple of times a day, but are not mixed with the general population.

    The guards themselves were abusive and assaulted some of the brothers in the early days, and one attacked a brother in the shower this summer, but other than that we have been blessed that they are now very careful with them for the most part.

    It wasn’t like that at first. I had to fight and write and write and fight the guards, the supervisor, the superintendant and the deputy minister. Everyone told me to shut up, everyone said I was making things worse. Even my husband almost dispaired at my relentless hounding and threatening, until the prison finally banned me from the property for 2 weeks.

    I kept an online journal of the abuse to pressure the prison to make the necessary investigations and to repremand any guard who denied their rights or abused them. Guards were complaining to my husband that I was talking about them online. Some guards refused to even tell the brothers their names, “I don’t want my name on the internet!!!”, they’d say.

    I did an interview with a large newspaper, The Toronto Star about the abuse in the prison.

    http://www.thestar.com/article/198797

    The next week, someone shot both of my cars, while they were in my driveway. My response was to call a press conference and expose the intimidation immediately.

    http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_9848.aspx

    And then finally, one of the other brothers lost his control when a guard started screaming and swearing at him in front of his little sister and his father. Then finally someone began to support my campaign.

    That father screamed and swore and threatened worse than I ever did!!! He told them “I didn’t support UmmTayyab when she was fighting you, but I made a mistake. I should have supported her and now I will never leave this thing alone!!!

    He gathered some community leaders, the heads of several Muslim organizations and we had a meeting with them. 4 families attended and we described what was happening in the prison and we described the kind of treatment we suffered on visitations.

    They in turn wrote to the Deputy Minister of Correctional Services, and were granted a meeting with him. He then wrote to the Superintendant of the prison and told him to grant audience to this group of Muslim leaders to talk about the needs of these “special” prisoners (they have always referred to them in this way).

    After that meeting, Masha’Allah everything began to change. They replaced the Supervisor with another man who was like a weekend supervisor, but a very humane man, just in his treatment of the brothers (I had outlined many instances of the unprofessional and sadistic responses of the original supervisor and mentioned the professional and fair treatment the men recieved under the second supervisor.)

    So with the new supervisor and a few kinks of removing some of the more surly guards and replacing them with more professional guards, the men are now in tolerable conditions. Some of the guards are even very nice and talk to them that they believe these men are innocent and this is a political setup, etc.

    I deleted my original posts to my website as an act of appreciation to the prison for their EVENTUAL change of attitude. I then added more complaints whenever a rogue guard would overstep his boundries.

    It took the community involvement to make the change. Everything got worse before it got better.

    Duas are the most important weapon of the believer. And then we must do what we can to change our circumstance ourselves, to the best of our ability, even if it is so frightening, even if everyone is telling us to leave it alone.

    We might not be able to do anything single handedly, but as long as we’re crying in the wilderness, there is always a possibility someone will hear us and join in our chorus.

    They can’t ignore ALL of us. Only when we stand alone are we ignored or drowned out.

  2. Umm Safiyyah Said:

    Masha-allaah nice blog.

    Subhan-allaah.

    May Allaah rectify your husbands affairs and may He ease your pain aameen

    We have to meet up soon insha-allah :-)

    Wa’alaykumasalaam Wa Rahmatullaahi Wa Barakatauh

    Umm Safiyyah

  3. Umm Uthmaan Said:

    Mrs Khyam’s interview with our site on this exact same subject can be read here:

    http://www.al-istiqamah.com/PP/MrsKhyam1.htm

    May Allah ease the situation of all of our imprisoned brothers, ameen.
    May Allah grant sabr to their families and reward them, ameen.

  4. Umm Muhammed Said:

    May Allaah ease your affairs and make your only concern the state of your imaan. Wallaahi, sis, if you only worry about pleasing Allaah then everything else in this dunya is insignificant. This life is passing and we are running out of time to do good deeds. Do not let shaytaan fool you, turn to Allaah now you can. If you learn to turn to Him and rely on Him alone, truly then you will be successful.
    Patience is beautiful and it comes with many blessings. So ask Allaah for sabr and He will surely be with you.

    May Allaah reward you immensely, and may He grant you Jannatul Firdaws al a’laa, aameen aameen aameen.

    Uhibuki fillaah.
    Alhamdulillaah for tears and du’aa.

  5. ali ahmad Said:

    asalaamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
    may Allah s.w.t give you paitence as awell as brother umar khayam, this world is place of test for the muslims so we must remember our duties and our responsibilities, take this advice it helped me alot when i was in crises so i would like to share it with you, olives are pressed to get oil, fruits atre squeeezed for juice, flowers are crushed for perfumes so if you feel pressured its just Allah is trying to get the best out of, also remember the story about hadhrat sumaiyyah r.a when she was killed and the prophet p.b.u.h was giving ther and her family glad tiding for paradise, may Allah shower His mercy on you and your family and all those brothers and sisters who are going through the same situation, all the brothers in all the prisons have got nothing to loose because Allah has already grantred them jannatul firdous, ameen

  6. Umm Ibrahim Said:

    Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatu.
    Ameen. Jazak Allah khair to all of you for your support and your kind words. I always pass on what is said to the brothers inside and you are all in our du’aa’s. These are very touching words brother Ali and I will always remember them, jazak Allah khair.
    Wassalaam


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