A 23-year-old man shot by police during an anti-terrorist raid said Tuesday he thought he was being attacked by robbers until he was dumped on the sidewalk outside his London home and saw a police van.
Mohammed Abdul Kahar and his brother, 20-year-old Abul Koyair — both British-born Muslims of Bengali origin — were interrogated for a week before being released without charge.
Kahar said he was hit by a shot in the chest as he and his brother came downstairs to investigate noises before dawn on June 2.
“As I took the first step down the stairs ... I saw an orange spark and a big bang,” Kahar said at a news conference at an east London Anglican church.
“I was begging the police, ’Please, I can’t breathe.’ And he just kicked me in my face,” and kept saying to shut up, using an expletive, Kahar said.
He said he only realized it was a raid after being carried outside and seeing the police vehicle.
Police have said they were obliged to act on information from a source that indicated some kind of chemical attack was being prepared.
Kahar said he had no idea why his home was targeted.
“I knew they made a mistake from the time they entered my house. We’re a law-abiding family,” he said. “I was born and bred in east London. I love this town.”
'We need justice'
Asked whether he would be seeking compensation, Kahar said that was “the least of the worries we’re thinking about.”
“First off, we need justice. We need some form of apology to our family,” he said.
Humeya Kalam, a sister of the two men, told British Broadcasting Corp. radio Tuesday that police burst into the home at about 4 a.m. without identifying themselves.
“The police didn’t identify themselves until I left the house. I was dragged down the stairs into the police van. When I saw the police van, obviously I realized these were police,” she said.
“I thought they were armed burglars and I was going to die.”
She said she was part of “a normal, average family” and did not know why they were targeted.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday he believed police had acted properly.
“There is no doubt at all if they received information that there was a possible terrorist attack and did not act on that information and such an attack then took place, you can just imagine the outcry — the justifiable outcry — there would be,” Blair said.