18 years ago today, 2 Dec 2003, a group of anti-terrorist police officers broke into my house in Tooting, south London.
As the Metropolitan Police later admitted in court in 2009, for the next hour or so the police officers subjected me to an ordeal of physical, verbal, religious and sexual abuse.
This included punches, knees, stamps, fondling me, choke holds on my neck to restrict my breathing and twisting steel cuffs along my arms to torture me (see the photographs).
This included putting me into the Muslim prayer prostration and ridiculing my religion, along with the officers mocking and jeering at the fact that they were walking around with outdoor shoes on the carpet where I pray.
I was left with 73 injuries from head to toe, including bleeding in my ears and urine.
The Metropolitan Police admitted at the High Court in London that during my arrest I offered no resistance whatsoever and the court issued a legal judgement to that effect.
After six of the officers were found to have over 70 complaints of assault against them, many of them against black or Asian men, the then Mayor of London Boris Johnson ordered an inquiry into why no action was taken against these officers.
In 2011 four of the officers stood criminal trial for the assault on me. The officers maintained, as they do to this day, that they did not strike me at all, and that all of my 73 injuries were self-inflicted.
The medical expert witness for the officers admitted in court that there was no medical explanation to several of my injuries except deliberate strikes by the officers.
Despite this evidence, a jury found the officers not guilty and then asked the judge if they could shake hands with the police officers that they had just acquitted.
In 2015, one of the officers acquitted in my case, was found by a High Court judge to have taken part in a separate racist assault on three Arab teenagers and then “lied” (judge’s words) about what happened.
On 06 March 2018 the four officers went to the Supreme Court to try and squeeze some compensation from the Metropolitan Police because of what they did to me (I am not making this up!).
I attended the hearing because I wanted the officers to see me as a free man. The last time they saw me was when I gave evidence against them at their criminal trial in 2011. I was a prisoner then.
The faces of the officers dropped when they saw me sitting there quietly in the Supreme Court public gallery. Dangerous terrorists do not walk the streets and sit in the Supreme Court public gallery.
On 25 July 2018 the UK Supreme Court ruled that the four officers had no basis on which to sue the Metropolitan Police for failing to protect their “rights” which left their reputation in ruins and unfairly branded them as “abusive thugs.”
Today, 18 years on, I can declare that I defeated my torturers. Why?
Because they failed to turn me into an angry, bitter, vengeful person.
Because they failed to remove the smile from my face.
Because I can sleep at night with a clear conscience while my torturers carry the heavy burden of knowing the truth of what happened that night.
Because I do not believe that every police officer is a racist, anti-Muslim pig. (After the assault other police officers at the police station were kind to me.)
Because I still believe there are more good people in the world than bad people.
Because I am a survivor, not a victim.
Here is my story: tinyurl.com/babarspeaks