(Trinidad Guardian) It’s official – Rio Claro imam Nazim Mohammed has confirmed that his daughter Anisa Waheed Mohammed and two granddaughters have each been sentenced to 20 years in jail by Iraq’s courts for alleged association with the Islamic State (ISIS).
Mohammed told T&T Guardian that he officially confirmed the situation yesterday when he read a May 1 UK “Telegraph” report chronicling his daughter’s trial in Baghdad’s Central Criminal court last month.
The Telegraph’s report, which described Anisa Mohammed, 53, as a grandmother, stated she’d been in a holding cell handcuffed to another woman. It was reported that she’d cried about her condition, saying she “wanted to go home to Trinidad and Tobago.”
Also on trial were women from Eastern and European states. The Telegraph described them as “some of the hundreds of wives and widows of ISIS fighters” defeated by Iraqi troops” last year. The Telegraph stated that the trial judge felt they should serve their sentences in their home countries “to ease the pressure on Baghdad’s overcrowded prison system.”
Last year, United National Congress (UNC) MP Rodney Charles revealed that Human Rights Watch group had found a T&T family – woman, daughters and husband – in an Iraqi detention camp last August. It’s turned out to be Mohammed, her adult girl children and husband. The Telegraph stated that Mohammed’s husband Daoud was arrested by Kurdish soldiers near Mosul and now “faces his own trial in the coming weeks.”
Contacted yesterday, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon told T&T Guardian he was examining the Telegraph report on Mohammed.
But Mohammed’s father yesterday admitted the story was the first time he had valid information his relatives were alive in Iraq.
“This (Telegraph) story which I saw Thursday was the first official confirmation it was really her. We’d suspected since we heard about the T&T family in Iraq. Where she’s now, is her trial and test to bear, as well as ours. It’s up to Allah – everything’s in his hands.”
Mohammed said he has no money to get an attorney to assist her.
“And this Government won’t take action. But I believe in the Lord, they got 20 years, they could have gotten life in jail. We tried communicating with her through the Red Cross – now we know for sure what happened to them.”
The Telegraph’s story stated the Anisa Mohammed was “dressed in pink and had greeted the judge in a lilting Caribbean English that took him by surprise.” The story added that the judge asked her “brusquely in Arabic” if she entered Iraq illegally and believed in ISIS’ ideology. The report said Mohammed “answered ‘yes’ to the first question and ‘no’ to the second.”
She was quoted as saying she’d “watched ISIS videos with her husband and two daughters and we decided we wanted to go and be part of an Islamic society.” Her reported seven-minute testimony – via translator – was that she didn’t know it was a war zone and when they arrived they “saw Iraqis killing Iraqis,” Russians and Turks also. The Telegraph stated that she said didn’t “find Islam there.” The report added that she said she was “just a housewife. I stayed at home with my daughters the whole time.”
The Telegraph also quoted Anisa Mohammed as saying, “I’m old, I have diabetes, my health is deteriorating. I’m not a threat to anyone … I can’t do 20 years in here.
“We are kept – 75 women to one room – and the women have 50 to 60 children between them. When we sleep there isn’t even space to move around. We are given only bread and jam twice a day. A few women and babies have already died from malnutrition…We’re all going to die here, and for what?”