A hero crippled during the Iraq War was forced from his home by police in a raid following the death of Sheku Bayoh, an inquiry has heard. Dad-of-two Sheku died after being restrained on the ground by six police officers in Kirkcaldy on May 3, 2015.
The inquiry is investigating the circumstances of his death and whether race was a factor. It heard yesterday from Saadia Rashid, the sister of Abid Saeed, who suffered catastrophic injuries in Baghdad in 2003 while serving his country with the Parachute Regiment.
Saadia told of her “traumatic nightmare experience” when police came to the family home shortly after Sheku’s death. They were looking for her twin brother Zahid, Sheku’s best pal.
About 16 months earlier, Zahid’s son Mikaeel Kular, three, was murdered by his own mother, Rosdeep Adekoya. Saadia said officers treated the family “like criminals” and “second-class citizens” as “we were Pakistani and Muslims”.
She said she had tried to reason with police when they arrived to declare the house a crime scene, insisting it had to be cleared and searched.
Saadia said two uniformed officers knocked, initially looking for Zahid, and later returned with colleagues. She said an officer in a suit “banged” on the door and demanded the family leave to allow the house to be sealed and searched.
Saadia said: “I was scared and intimidated.”
When she asked about a warrant, she was told police didn’t need one and was refused an explanation about the need for the search.
Asked about the officer’s tone, she said: “I felt scared and intimidated by him. [He was] aggressive, quite loud and a bit frightening.”
Saadia said she explained she had an 18-month-old son and a two-month-old daughter. She said her daughter was recovering from a hernia operation and that she was still restricted by stitches from an emergency caesarean section.
She also told officers her brother Abid was confined to a wheelchair and that she and her mother couldn’t move him. Asked how her mother, who did not speak English, reacted to police entering the house, she said: “[She was] terrified and scared. It brought back memories of the previous event with the police.”
Saadia said she explained that her father, Saeed Ahmed, or one of her brothers, Zahid or Sajid, would have to help move Abid but was told not to call anyone – even though the police were looking for Zahid. She maintained that police officers insisted they all had to leave and offered no assistance to move her brother.
She said officers were not interested in her pleas that Abid could not manage outside his home, adding: “They didn’t care. They didn’t have any compassion.”
Asked about the effects of the events, she said: “We’re not safe around the police anymore.”
The inquiry heard Abid joined the Paras at 18 and served in the peacekeeping force in Kosovo and later in the Iraq War, suffering his severe injuries in 2003, aged 27.
Saadia said: “He suffered a lifelong injury, basically he was paralysed from the neck down.”
She added he was also brain-damaged and that moving him or upsetting his routine would affect his mental and physical health.
A statement issued on behalf of Saadia by solicitor Aamer Anwar said: “In January 2014 the Saeed family lost Mikaeel Kular, three, the son of Zahid Saeed.
“When Mikaeel disappeared from his mother’s house in Edinburgh, Zahid and his family wrongly became the focus of police suspicion and this same property was searched some 17 months earlier.
“Three days later, the police discovered the killer was Mikaeel’s mother. This horrific killing left Zahid and his family devastated.
“When the police returned, they should have known where they were coming. Instead, they were intimidating, aggressive and failed to show respect, humanity or compassion for a mother, two young children, an elderly mother terrified by the police return and a brother permanently disabled serving his Queen and country. They simply didn’t care.”
The inquiry continues today.
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