Freedom for Now: The Story of My Detention and Persecution in Spain
In 2012, Spain revoked my refugee status and subsequently issued an expulsion order only because I produced a documentary on Prophet Muhammad’s life. After my ultimate appeal for the restoration of my refugee status was rejected by the Spanish Supreme Court in June 2014, I left Spain and went to Norway and sought asylum there. But the land of the Nobel Peace Prize and supposed champion of defending human rights acted in cowardly manner, hurriedly sending me back to Spain showing absolute disregard toward my appeal for protection.
On 28 July 2014, Spanish authorities detained me on my arrival back in Spain for extraditing to Indonesia over a false and religiously-motivated criminal charge, which was fabricated for taking me to an Islamic country to shut my mouth forever and punish me for revealing the unsavory facts about Islam and Prophet Muhammad. It should be noted that in 2010, while living with my wife in Indonesian, Indonesian police detained me for my criticism of Islam published in the Internet and deported me to Spain in July that year. Then, in an incredible manner, they implicated in me in a murder case, conducted investigation and trials, and convicted and sentenced me to 20-year imprisonment – all within 7 days – without ever informing me of the charges and without giving me any opportunity to defend my innocence.
When Interpol, on behalf of Indonesia, first requested the Spanish authorities to extradite me to Indonesia, a court in Madrid conducted a hearing to the extradition request, inviting Indonesian authorities to present their evidence implicating me to the murder case. Despite repeated invitations, Indonesian authorities never showed up in court to present their evidence and the judge eventually rejected the extradition request.
Following my latest detention, Spanish authorities—in a desperate bid to expel me from the country—reopened the Indonesian extradition request rejected by the Madrid court years ago. And despite my lawyer unequivocally proving all the lies, irregularities and contradictions in the Indonesian authority’s case against me, the High Court judges blindly approved the extradition. The way they ignored all my arguments and proofs, it was clear that they were not sitting in the judges’ chairs to hand out justice, but to get rid of me by any means necessary as the government of Spain considers me a national security threat because of my critical views about Islam.
The Judges totally ignored that for expressing my views on Islam, I have received death-threats from several radical Islamic groups in Indonesia. They even ignored the fact that my conversion from Islam to Christianity is a serious crime of apostasy, which is punishable by death in Islamic law. They didn’t want to see the fact that having written critical commentaries on Islam for 10 years, producing a number of critical videos on Islam and its founder, and appearing in international media with my picture and real name, there was almost no chances that I will stay alive and be protected in an Islamic country like Indonesia, home of biggest Muslim population on earth and scene of some of the deadliest Jihadi terrorist attacks in recent times.
How ludicrous could it be that the Spanish director of prison kept me in solitary confinement to ensure my safety and physical integrity, saying that my life was under threat from 150 Muslim prisoners, and yet the Spanish judiciary approved my extradition to an Islamic country where I would be surrounded by millions of Muslims who consider me the enemy of Islam and Muslims would kill me inside prison as it is their religious duty to eliminate apostates, especially those who criticize Islam?
The Spanish penal code, constitution, asylum law and many international human rights conventions signed and ratified by Spain, such as the “European Convention on Human Rights, International Covenant on Political & Civil Rights, International Convention against Torture”, prohibit Spain from deporting or extraditing people to a country where they would be subject to torture and death, but in my case the Spanish judiciary closed its eyes and gave the green signal for sending me to my certain death. It is obvious that the judges sitting in my extradition hearing were making judgments under political pressure and fear of Islamists.
Time and again I wondered from my prison cell: Should the punishment for exercising freedom of expression be so cruel that the person must lose his life? Muslims kill people whenever and wherever they want to the shouts of “Allahu Akbar”, but I do not even have the right to honestly point out what inspires them to commit those horrendous atrocities, despite the fact that freedom of expression is fundamental human rights in Western countries.
My lawyer appealed against the Spanish High Court Judges’ approval to extradite me to Indonesia. But as the things were moving in such a politically directed way, neither I nor my lawyer was expecting expecting justice. I had prepared myself to face the fact that I was going to be sent to Indonesia where the Islamists will brutally torture and kill me because of my criticism of various aspects of Islam that I consider incompatible to democracy and laws of our free modern world.
But the Lord heard the prayers of people around the world. Just about when I was all prepared to be sent to Indonesia, my appeal against the approval of my extradition was dramatically accepted by the Supreme Court, rejecting the Indonesian extradition request and ordering my immediate release.
Just when I had thought that all hopes for my life and that of my family had ended, I was stunned by the notification of my freedom on the evening of December 12, 2014.
I am still too tired, traumatized and confused. I still can’t believe that finally I am free after facing so much suffering. I can’t believe that just when I was on the brink of being sent to my death, I was set free. Although my extradition to Indonesia is rejected once and for all, my expulsion order consequent to the revocation of my refugee status in Spain still stands valid. Upon my release from the prison, I was detained by police waiting for me at the gate and was taken to a police station. According to them, the expulsion order is a separate issue from the extradition case. They warned me that they will carry out the expulsion order by sending me to Pakistan if I do not leave Spain voluntarily.
I don’t know for how long I will have to face all this? I don’t know what is going to happen in the near future?
Despite all the suffering, I do not feel guilty of doing anything wrong. I believe that by speaking the truth about Islam, its prophet and its violent ideology, I simply tried to warned and helped the world. I also feel that in doing that I simply exercised my fundamental right to freedom of expression in this country. Islam cannot snatch it from us by intimidation through violence. If for this good cause, I have to be imprisoned again, I will happily embrace that. For me, it is better to suffer and die in defiance and resistance than submitting and surrendering to Islam and live a cowardly existence.
I express my utmost gratitude to all the people, who have offered their help and support to me, and their showed concerns. You keep boosting my morale to push myself through in this battle against the giant enemy of humanity that is called Islam.