Foziya’s Statement

The following is an account of events in Shahid’s case as told by Foziya Nagash over the cause of several phone calls with Leniency for SKB.

First, some introductory comments; we faced many obstacles in trying to complete this interview. First of all, if you have ever tried to call Ethiopia, you will know that it’s a hit and miss proposition. The mobile phone network is extremely unreliable and it usually requires several attempts to get through. Once you do get connected, the quality of the line is often very poor and there is frequently a delay of 4 or 5 seconds before your voice reaches the other side and vi ce ver sa. Next, once we established contact with Foziya, there was the issue of her availability and the time difference to make sure that she we could reach her when she’d have the time and privacy and relative quiet to talk. And then, here, it was sometimes challenging to overcome her understandable reticence to discuss these issues. And this took a number of calls for her to become comfortable. But we still had to repeat questions several times asking for more details, etc. And finally, we faced the obstacle of language. Foziya’s English is not fluent and she speaks with a very strong accent and very quickly. This, combined with a patchy phone connection, made it a struggle for both sides. Because of this long inconsistent process, it is not possible to transcribe the calls directly. Rather, we have rendered our conversations with Foziya in a single narrative using her actual words as best we could. We have made no corrections to grammar or syntax and wherever something was inaudible or unclear we have left it “as is”. We are grateful to Foziya for her patience and cooperation and convey for her, her best regards and support to  Shahid and his family as she made us promise  her we would.

The Interview

“… this good you make for internet for Shahid, his case. I want all people understand really what I happen for us… too much people talk and not know anything…Allah, He understand true. I’m every time ask Allah Help for Shahid…sorry for my English not good, long time I’m not anything speak English…”

“… what I say for you what happened? Same I am every time I am speak and nobody listen. Which time somebody they listen? Only I say you, that man, Shahid look him the internet…he want bad make for Muslim ladies, because he like, like that. Shahid, he want tell this man “why you make like this way, this not good”… I’m not see any another people too much take care for Muslims same like Shahid…who is same like this? Never I don’t see. Only this people like enjoy not think for Allah anything what good or no.”

“…That man come, I don’t know how he came like that, not understand where this place, who this people and want for sex. How can somebody he make like this? This mad. {inaudible}

“…only they talking…I am stay the kitchen making for chicken and potato…after that man come for me… where Shahid I don’t understand… He come too much close, say how I am “so beautiful” and he try touch for me, but I go back …after Shahid come inside take that man out”

“…after I am cooking finish, I am go my room, I am listen that man sound. Not listen Shahid  anything, I am scared that man may be crazy. I am worried for Shahid some problem this man…”

“After, he come my room…how I say for you? Better I die for me than anybody make like this for me. He catch me by power , he try open my dress…he catch me down on the bed, how I can to fight? Where Shahid I not understand…I’m scare that this man beat for Shahid why he- not come? Then after Shahid come, and he take that man off from me and he have this medicine so that man sleep…”

“I am go outside, and too much cry what happen for me…I  maybe one hours… after I come inside… Shahid too much disturbed say that man he is die, what we can to do?”

“I am tell for Shahid “must you go out from this country” but problem Shahid family this time go for Gaza and not after leave for him money. They take for them ticket and nice things for family so Shahid not any money so how buy for him ticket?..[inaudile] This problem

“I am say, so maybe that man have money. Must be we use to buy ticket and you go. That man not want money now.” But he not any money, only card, what we can do?”

“ … Shahid say maybe airport is problem. Not need ticket, better go by another way out… he ask I know any people that come Emarat without any visa…so I listen before for one people, they bring people Somalis and Ethiopian by special way from Yemen with not any papers… so I want to check for this people…but this want money more from ticket. This too much money because this danger way…and people in Emarat want money and after in Oman, another people want and after in Yemen every people need money for to work not only one time money. So what we can to do?”

“…so after we think chance buy for card something, then we sell for any people to bring money, so go out from this place.”

” …You think Shahid he want any this thing? That’s crazy. Only we want go out this country safe…after buy things for selling not quickly. Not any shop they want buy…so how we sell? Maybe three phone sell, not remember. Too much this take time. After police catch and make for us what they want…same like they eat you…not anybody take care for you..what true…only want to put more case for finish your life…so why police not stop for that man? Police not understand internet? What people make this place, not understand? for Shahid make case and want for him die, that man good, what he make for me? Police like for this way? What he make is good and if stop for him this thing bad? This crazy. So, must be Muslim ladies not go to Emarat after…for them not safety…”

“…last I tell for you understand, only that man die. Allah, He write for him. Shahid not kill never he hurt for anybody. I am work inside Shahid house, maybe 3years, understand everything who is Shahid , so what police understand not know Shahid one day even. They want put case. Too much Shahid upset when that man die…”

“…you can say for Shahid from me some message? Tell for him, be strong. Every time pray for Allah Help you. Allah He understand all thing what happened. Never He not Help for you. Sure, only must be patient…Even I don’t like, I am go out and you still in the jail…but Allah with you. Insha Allah, soon you  together your family. Your kids I am too much miss, and I am give for them big salaam too… everytime I am pray for you ok. Assalamualaikum. Thank you.”

Foziya told us that she was also questioned about without a translator, and had to sign a confession she couldn’t read. And similarly, was never able to communicate with her government appointed attorney. She was arrested along with Shahid and charged with being an accomplice to the killing of Mr. Steiner, was convicted in the Court of First Instance and sentenced to 3 years. Shahid advised her not to appeal so as to avoid being caught in the endless cycle of postponements and she was released thereafter in 2008 and deported home to Ethiopia.

Foziya told us that her English is better than her Arabic and she was questioned by police in Arabic. Given the struggle, we experienced putting this interview together, we can only imagine what the police interrogation must have been like.


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