Monday 10 June 2013

English Transcripts Of Witnesses Describing The Execution Of A 14-Year-Old For Blasphemy In Aleppo

Today there's been a number of reports on the execution of Mohammad Katta, a young coffee seller in Aleppo, by men described in some reports as foreign Islamist rebels for blasphemy after telling another boy that "even if Muhammad comes down, I will not give it as debt" when asked to give coffee on credit.  An extremely graphic photograph of the boy has been posted online, showing him shot through the mouth and neck, and videos have now been posted online of the boy's parents and a witness to the execution, which I've had translated into English, with notes from my translator in italics:

0:01 Mother: My son is second only to Hamza al-Khateeb (A boy from Daraa whose torture and execution by Assad’s troops shocked the world in May 2011). No, he is second to none, he is the grand martyr because he was innocent and didn't hurt anybody. They shot him dead in front of my eyes. This act is against religion and against Sharia. I want to ask Muhammad Hassan (A prominent Egyptian cleric) and the Saudi king whether my boy deserved death or not. If they say there is a rule, I will not object to it.
After he was accused of blasphemous language against the prophet [Muhammad], he replied that he is ready to sacrifice his soul for the sake of Muhammad, expressing his great love for him. He repeated it in front of them, and when they asked him to get in the car he agreed saying that he isn't guilty. He was only 14 years old and he didn't reach adulthood (As in civil law, Sharia rules aren’t applied to minors).
Those who killed my son must be brought to justice if it was proved that what they did was out of Sharia rules. My son didn't join neither part of the war. They just slaughtered him as if he was a lamb or an animal. He was just a boy and had his rights. He used to work in order to provide for us because his father is ill. He was blindfolded and he was bleeding in front of my eyes. I cried: shame on you, why did you do this? There were a crowd of around 300 to 400 men standing there watching and no-one tried saving the boy. He was shot three times; in his head, neck the third in his chest.
3:37 Interviewer: Did you see the men? Were they Islamists?
3:39 Mother: Yes, I saw them. They spoke standard Arabic (Spoken by very religious people only, or what can be called the strict clergymen) and were long-bearded and were wearing short garbs with trousers underneath. One of the three men was from Aleppo and he was seated next to the driver.
4:04 Interviewer Did you recognize him?
4:05 Mother: No, I couldn't see his face well, but I knew he was from Aleppo by his accent. He told the men to let the boy go but they refused. After they returned with the boy he was hardly able to sit down due to the torture they inflicted on him. His face was covered with his shirt. May God and punish them.

0:01 Father: I am Abd-Alwahab Katta’. My son was 14 years old and he used to sell coffee in front of “Sarj al-Lawz”. He was arguing with a customer and saying that he wouldn't buy on credit anymore even if Muhammad descended down to earth. I sell in cash only.
At that moment three unidentified men were passing by and heard the boy. They were wearing short garbs and were long-haired spoke standard Arabic. They asked the boy why he was blaspheming but he denied doing so. They ordered him to get in the car and took him away. My younger son came here and told me that they took his brother. He added that they were going to punish him and get back. I said let them punish him by beating or whipping if really said blasphemous words.
After half an hour they came back and put the boy near the coffee stall. My wife heard that there were a crowd of around thirty men in the street and after that we heard the sound of gunshots. My wife cried that they killed the boy because she heard a man reading from a paper. I was giving prayers when I heard two gunshots. I then rushed downstairs to find my son’s body lying on the street. After that the men ran over the boy’s arm and dashed away.
1:34 Interviewer: They said before killing the boy that God accepts the repentance if one blasphemes him unlike when one blasphemes the Prophet and in this case he deserves death.
1:42 Father: Yes, they said this and my son denied blaspheming.
1:52 Interviewer: Whom do you accuse of killing your son? Are they FSA or Islamists?
1:55 Father: I don’t know whether they were FSA, Islamist or Afghans, but they spoke standard Arabic. There are now too many battalions and I can’t distinguish one from the other.
2:05 Interviewer: What was written on the car?
2:07 Father: The car was black and there were three men inside. Those who saw them said that they carried the boy out of the car as he wasn't able to stand on his feet as a result of severe torture.
2:29 Interviewer: Did he blaspheme?
2:30 Father: No, he didn't. They asked the crowd to listen to the rule by which my son was killed. “God accepts the repentance if one blasphemes him unlike when one blasphemes the Prophet and in this case he deserves death”.
3:04 Interviewer: Are you going to file a suit?
3:07 Father: I filed a suit to the Sharia [Court] and they came here and I am waiting for what will they do. They gave me its number, here it is.
3:16 Interviewer: What did they say?
3:18 Father: They said they will deal with it.

0:01 Boy: He (one of the three men) was asking the boy (the victim) why he refused to sell on credit. The boy replied that he won’t do even if The Prophet comes down to earth. The men then asked the boy why he was blaspheming. The boy denied doing this and repeated what he said earlier and added that he is willing to give his soul for the Prophet. Then the men asked the boy to get in the car and took him inside. After half an hour or so they came back with the boy. They got him out because he couldn't stand on his feet. They carried the boy and laid him here and shot him three times.
0:32 Interviewer: Did you see the car?
0:33 Boy: Yes, I did. It was black.
0:35 Interviewer:  How many there were?
0:36 Boy: They were three. Two of them get out of the car and one remained inside.
1:01 Interviewer: Can you tell what happened?
1:02 Male witness: The boy didn't say anything blasphemous. He just said that if the Prophet comes down he won’t sell on credit. That’s it. They took the boy with them and whipped him and after around an hour they came back and laid in the street and shot him in his head three times. He was 14 years old only. 
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  1. I have the first doubts since the begining of the Syrian war , on whether to help the rebels. This type of religious fundamentalists are not compatible with my thinking and what I think is the modern world.

    If the Syrian rebels are not able to stop these people is that decent people is not majority in the rebellion. Is futile any effort to help syrians .

    I do not understand this mentality of the Middle Ages. The mother seems to doubt whether it is legal or not according to Sharia, the murder of his son.

  2. Nusra denied involvement, it could be Islamic state of Iraq as they are known for extreme views or it could be regime

    1. By regime I mean some secret agents who pretend to be Islamists , regime did it before

    2. I think it can be aliens or dragons who pretend to be Islamists. Everything is possible on Middle Earth, oh sorry, Middle East...

    3. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, the crime was most probably done by Islamic State of Iraq. However, it's easy for anyone in Syria to do the same and dresses the way he wants then announces his ideological belief whether he was Islamist, atheist, Marxist and even he can claim that he is an an alien and kill whoever he wants to kill. I live in a regime-held area and would like to say that now it's very easy to pick someone from the street, accuse him of any crime one can imagine then execute him and just leave after filming it.