Nadhia’s story: Life without my brother

[Image: BBC]

Nadhia is the sister of a detainee. In 2006 her brother was arrested at the airport after returning from Pakistan. This is Nadhia’s story…

The very same night Nadhia’s family home was raided as she awaited her brother’s arrival. 15 police officers charged into the house at midnight, scaring her elderly parents and four young children. They ransacked the house, eventually forcing the family to leave so they could carry out a week-long search of the entire house.

“I thought I’d actually lost my mother because she couldn’t breathe and I kept asking the officer for water for my mother but he said “that’s not our problem”.

“All I could hear was screaming, my kids screaming, and my brother! Then they dragged my father, I could see he hurt his knuckles, all he asked for was a warrant for barging into our house. And they dragged my father, my kids were screaming, we kept asking them for a warrant but no, they wouldn’t give us the warrant.”

Nadhia’s brother was charged and eventually convicted.

The Domino Effect

After the arrest Nadhia and her family suffered greatly. The raid scared the family, leaving traumatic thoughts and images in their minds. Nadhia’s eldest son was only three years old at the time of the raid and witnessed everything.

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‘I had my two boys at the time with my youngest at just 6 months old. My eldest was 3 and it affected him the most. Until this day he still wets himself and has problems going to the toilet. Whenever he sees a police officer he wets himself on the spot. He doesn’t trust other people and won’t interact with other kids. It’s not nice as a mother to see your child suffer like that – he should be growing up, learning and developing but he’s always depressed’

Nadhia’s two younger brothers became resentful and frustrated and unfortunately began exerting their pain through petty criminal activities. Her parents were left broken. Not only had they lost their son but they did so through means that were simply unimaginable. Her father became withdrawn and her mother extremely depressed, unable to even speak to her son through the tears she shed.

Since the arrest Nadhia’s father has stopped working due acute stress. His son was about to start a family business with the family savings, however when he was arrested all his belongings were confiscated, including the money they had saved. Unable to drive and support his family, the father plummeted further into depression.

My father just stopped working, he just didn’t want to leave the house up until this day, and no one has really worked¦ its issues with people as well. We had the intention of building a family business, all the money that had gone into it was confiscated and taken off us, and it’s not been given back to this day. .. My brothers have kept themselves away from everyone¦ everyone just wants to be alone”

 “It’s affected my eldest son; he was about 3 and a half. He actually saw everything, and right up until this day it affected him emotionally, he actually still wets himself¦ right up until today, if he sees a police officer, he actually wet himself on the spot, he doesn’t trust people, he doesn’t interact with other kids, he’s had issues at school, it’s not nice as a mother to see your child suffer like that.”

“My dad had the intention of setting up a family business, but everything he put into it was confiscated and taken off us and has not been given back till this day”

My brothers have kept themselves away from everyone…we don’t have that same communication amongst ourselves. Everyone just wants to be on their own and do their own thing.


Nadhia’s brother was released in 2013 and recalled back to prison various time thereafter but the pain and trauma hasn’t stopped.

He was put in a hostel one hour and a half from his parents’ home. This proved to be very difficult on the mother and father, who were unable to visit their son and care for him as they had so longed to do. Nadhia was also prohibited from communication with her brother for lengthy periods.

When HHUGS discovered Nadhia and her family, we knew that there was a lot of work that could be done. Taking them under our wing, we continue to support them through emotional, financial and empowerment programmes. We offer educational support to help her complete her GCSE’s and access course for university. HHUGS also organised social gatherings and days out for the children and well as facilitate prison visits.

“They paid for my college courses, trips, days out with the kids, and any sort of financial help, they have always been there.”

“Tomorrow it could be you, why wait until they come to your house before you start getting active.”

 “I would encourage everyone to take part in the prison campaigns, to become more active. To take constructive action.”

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