Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (4) Hussain Al-Samamara


My name is Hussain Al-Samamara. I’m Jordanian, and I’m 33 years old. I’m a husband and I’m a father. I’m a brother and a son. I’m a friend and I’m an artist. But I am not a terrorist.

To be honest with you I don’t know how I got here. This was never meant to happen to me.

Lately I’ve been feeling so tired. I get headaches all the time, but I am gonna do my best to tell you my story.

I live in London with my wife and daughter. She is two years old. That little girl, with all that amazing curly hair, she holds me together. She’s the glue to my crumbling world. I owe her so much.

I’ll never forget the day I was arrested. For many reasons.

My daughter was just four days old, and we were having a gathering at home to celebrate the birth. It’s a tradition. I had just popped out for five minutes. That’s when it happened.

They took me to Long Lartin prison. The other men told me I was there because the Home Office think I’m a threat to national security. I thought they were joking. Me?

Then things stopped being funny. And I stopped laughing. That was when my wife first started crying. She hasn’t really stopped for two years.

I left Jordan because of the torture. It was just too much to keep bearing. I still have the broken bones in my hand.

When I got here I applied for asylum. I thought I could start to live without fear and pain, but it didn’t last long. You know, my ambition was to study. I had wanted to be a doctor, but that’s all gone now.

Last year, when I was released on bail, my wife and I suffered racial abuse. I was shot with a stun gun and left unconscious. That was in Birmingham. My wife became agoraphobic. She was doing a Masters in business  when I met her. There’s no way she could do that now.

Now the Home Office wants to move me to Birkenhead. Refugees have a hard time up there. Can you imagine how it’s gonna be for a so-called “threat to national security”?

Recently my father came to visit me. It was hard with all the strange bail conditions — like getting him vetted to come into my flat. He planned to stay longer but he left after a couple of months. It was too hard for him to see me like this.

Can you imagine for just a second how it feels to be taken, to be labelled, to feel so useless in front of your family, to have a whole government of a country turn against you, and you don’t know why? They say they have something on you. They won’t tell you what. You have no real way of challenging it, and so you have to live like this. I am here today because of this “something,” because of secret evidence.

With Hussain’s permission, this was read out, by the actor Derek Howard, at “Britain’s Guantánamo? The use of secret evidence and evidence based on torture in the UK courts,” a parliamentary meeting in the House of Commons, chaired by Diane Abbott MP, on March 30, 2009. The script was written by Saleyha Ahsan, using material gathered from interviews.

This statement (the fourth of five) is part of a series of four articles and five statements examining the use of secret evidence in the British courts. For an introduction, see Britain’s Guantánamo: An Introduction, and for the first three articles, see Torture taints all our lives (published in the Guardian’s Comment is free), Britain’s Guantánamo: Calling For An End To Secret Evidence and Britain’s Guantánamo: Fact or Fiction? For the other four statements, see: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (1) Detainee Y, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (2) Detainee BB, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (3) Detainee U and Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (5) Detainee Z.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

For other articles dealing with Belmarsh, control orders, deportation bail, deportations and extraditions, see Deals with dictators undermined by British request for return of five Guantánamo detainees (August 2007), Britain’s Guantánamo: the troubling tale of Tunisian Belmarsh detainee Hedi Boudhiba, extradited, cleared and abandoned in Spain (August 2007), Guantánamo as house arrest: Britain’s law lords capitulate on control orders (November 2007), The Guantánamo Britons and Spain’s dubious extradition request (December 2007), Britain’s Guantánamo: control orders renewed, as one suspect is freed (February 2008), Spanish drop “inhuman” extradition request for Guantánamo Britons (March 2008), UK government deports 60 Iraqi Kurds; no one notices (March 2008), Repatriation as Russian Roulette: Will the Two Algerians Freed from Guantánamo Be Treated Fairly? (July 2008), Abu Qatada: Law Lords and Government Endorse Torture (February 2009), Ex-Guantánamo prisoner refused entry into UK, held in deportation centre (February 2009), Home Secretary ignores Court decision, kidnaps bailed men and imprisons them in Belmarsh (February 2009), Britain’s insane secret terror evidence (March 2009).

One Response

  1. Britain’s Guantánamo: Fact or Fiction? by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Guantánamo: (2) Detainee BB, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (3) Detainee U, Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (4) Hussain Al-Samamara and Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (5) Detainee […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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