"You know, when you are in prison you feel different about The Value of freedom” - Visiting Ahmed H. in Prison in Budapest
Two weeks ago we finally received the confirmation from Ahmed's family: We are allowed to visit Ahmed in the prison in Budapest! We have tried to get permission for about a year and half, but the prison authorities did not respond to our requests. So finally - after over two years of solitary imprisonment - Ahmed was allowed to receive visitors.
After some discussion with the prison staff, we received a two-hour slot to talk to Ahmed. We were separated by a glass window, confined to telephones and overheard by the guards, who interrupted us when we exchanged some nice words in Arabic and told Ahmed to stick to English.
Nevertheless, Ahmed encountered us with a happy smile, showing self-confidence and self-determination. As a pious man, Ahmed finds solace in praying and reading. "They think all Muslims are terrorist, especially a praying Muslim. But you know, it doesn't matter if you are Muslim, Jew or Christian; I respect all human beings, because we are all equal humans. We will succeed with the message of peace and love."
"You know, when you are in prison you feel different about your own freedom” he tells us. “Freedom has no comparable value, you cannot balance it with money. Even with words I cannot describe it.” He tells us a story of how his daughter once opened the doors of the cages where he held canary birds. The birds escaped. At first he was angry, but then he thought that these birds should not be locked up in cages. So together they set all the remaining birds free as well. Now he is sure that this was the right decision. No one, not human nor animal should be put in a cage. He added: "When I heard about the 10 years sentence, I thought I was dreaming, but I had to realize: This is reality, I cannot give up."
Apart from his cellmate, Ahmed is isolated from all other prisoners. If he needs to shop, he has specific hours, where only he is shopping. He is only allowed to walk in the prison yard alone for one hour a week. He suffers from heavy back pains, provoked by the prison conditions, the bad mattress and the transports in the back of the prison van to the court in Szeged and back. But he stated that his situation in the prison has improved since the verdict of the second instance court: "Now the prison staff has realized that I am innocent."
Being isolated in jail with only Hungarian TV, he was eager to know more about the political situation outside, in Hungary and the EU. We talked for a while about the rise of racist parties and the refugees' situation. He pointed out: "It is so easy to make a bright situation darker, and so difficult to brighten up a dark situation. But we cannot give up. I hope all the refugees can find a way to live their life and to be happy and to contribute to the countries they live in."
What Ahmed suffers most from is being separated from his family. He tells us that he wants to see his daughters and wife, but couldn’t stand it if they would say goodbye after the visit. "It would be too hard to see them and then to say Goodbye again."
Ahmed's also worries about his old parents, who were also among the Röszke11 and now live in Germany. They are ill and go through a lot of stress. “Freedom, health and family are the most important things you can have" Ahmed stated. Another of his concerns was to raise the money for his lawyer, that's why we invite all readers to donate here: https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/justice-for-ahmed-fundraising-for-defense-lawyer.
"I want to thank all of you in the world who support me and my case!" Ahmed emphasised several times. He received some pictures of the solidarity letters sent to him, but not all of them. "But even when they don't give all of them to me, I am very happy to know that these letters exist. This alone already gives me a lot of power."
The time passed very quickly and soon we had to leave again. We hope to visit Ahmed again in December before the next trial dates. After the conversation with Ahmed and having the spectacle of the prison in my mind, we once again felt a stronger need to struggle against the politics of walls and fences that destroy our societies, create hierarchies and rip off rights and dignity.
Join the struggle, donate for Ahmed's lawyer costs and participate in the trial monitoring on the 8th, 10th and 12th of January in Szeged!
We will keep on fighting for freedom of movement for everyone!
Our solidarity is stronger than the racist walls and fences!
WRITE POSTCARDS TO AHMED H.!
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20th of September
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