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February 24, 2012

Abu Musab Al-Suri speaks on his Pakistan detention

February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

Abu Musab Al-Suri, a leading Jihadist figure who was allegedly accused of involvement in Madrid and London bombings, felt "betrayed" when the Pakistani Intelligence transferred him to United States' custody in return for a $5 million bounty, according to an Islamist prison mate who spent time with the Syrian Jihadist at an ISI Rawalpindi prison in 2005. The Pakistani authorities had claimed he was held for a week following his capture in November 2005 in Quetta, before his transfer to American custody. But according to Al-Suri’s prison mate, the former was held for months until the Pakistanis secured the fat American bounty.

Mohamad Sha’ban Mohamad Hasanein, an Egyptian Islamist activist and a former correspondent for the Islamic Observatory Centre, was then transferred to Egypt where he was held without charge in prison till the January 25 Egyptian revolution; after the revolution, he was released and had the chance to tell this story. He met al-Suri, and said the following on his capture in Pakistan:

Abu Musab told us about the conspiratorial trap after he completed his book “The Call for Global Islamic Resistance” (1600 pages). He started preparing to join the Jihad. After serious and fruitful calls with Afghan, Arab and Pakistani brothers in al-Qaeda and the Taleban, he packed his baggage, prepared his family for a trip from Karachi to Balochistan, (a lawless region on the border with Afghanistan). Someone like him could not see himself away from the conflict, which meant preferring his and his family’s safety over truths he believes in. Islam’s call invites him to work and adventure. He was optimistic about the trip having a safe convoy that would accompany him. When the bus reached the Quetta station in Balochistan, there was a devastating surprise: the whole station (stop) was prepared for his capture. The other passengers left the bus, but Abu Musab’s bodyguard ran to the bus’s door to secure the way; he was hit by a deadly bullet in his chest. In seconds, his wife and children were kidnapped; he was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken in a luxurious cars convoy to Lahore. In Lahore, the Sheikh (Al-Suri) told us, that he taught the ISI members Islamic Politics, and led their prayers. He stayed there for four months, and they comforted him regarding his family’s safety without telling him where they were and what happened to them. They then convinced him of the need to travel to the ISI’s Rawalpindi’s prison (Pindi Detention Centre) to arrange for his travel to Spain… they warmly said goodbye (through hugs). After two days of arriving, the Pakistani newspapers started publishing ads of the bounty on the arrest of the famous Abu Musab Al-Suri. Only then, Al-Suri decoded the message and knew that these traitors have no human or ethical considerations. Hasanein met Al-Suri during prayer time at this Rowalpindi prison, where Chechens, Arabs, and Islamists from other nationalities were imprisoned. He said the following about their meetings and al-Suri’s time in that prison: Abu Musab’s Philosophy in prison was about spreading hope, and what we have to do now to strengthen our connection to Allah; it is the strong power to restore trust in that we will prevail, and that the nation’s projects will not stop at the tyrants’ plans, and the occupation of Afghanistan. The prophet’s prophecies assures the return of Afghanistan and the rise of the black flags army from Khurasan. We will win and continue our role together till victory - May Allah relieve you Abu Musab – these words had a profound effect on our morale, they ended all of our pains in a moment when we foresee a future and our duties. Abu Musab continued his speech to us, saying: Regarding Huntington’s legend, the clash of civilisations, what is said on Armageddon and the end of the world, the forces of evil tries on many occasions to take a route that immerses humanity in violence and deception, trying to end the failure of Western Civilisation in achieving happiness for humanity, only to fail again in drawing a tragic end to humanity with these legends and phantoms.

When Hassanein was preparing to leave the prison with four other Egyptians, Al-Suri convinced his guard to allow them a moment for proper goodbyes. He asked Hassanein to mention him in his prayers, and the guard cut their talk short to continue the transfer.
This statement on Al-Suri’s detention for months before handing him over to the American authorities, cast doubts on initial reports on his capture. NBC had reported in 2005 that American officials say he was held for few months with the Americans, and that the announcement probably came after they secured, or did not secure information on his comrades. Al-Suri was later sent to a Syrian prison after a rendition flight. Now, he has been released and residing in Syria. A London-based Islamist human rights’ activist, who knew Al-Suri, has told the Arab Digest that the latter has been treated well. We have interviewed him on the potential motives behind Al-Suri’s release in Syria:

Dr. Yasser Al-Siri, Director of the Islamic Observatory center, has said that “the regime might be interested in the Islamification of the revolution, and driving it towards extremism to crush it from the inside. It believes that those released will act as it wishes. If it did not work that way, they will claim it did”. Al-Siri told The Arab Digest that there is unconfirmed information that Al-Suri was released in a SWAP that included an American citizen held by Al-Qaeda in Pakistan (Warren Weinstein). His release might also be a signal from the Syrian regime that it halted its cooperation with the Americans, which might prompt the release of all those considered a threat to Washington. Al-Siri said that “my information is that Al-Suri was not tortured, he was treated well during his incarceration”.


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