Case Studies

Anas: Tortured for demanding his rights


Anas was put into pre-trial detention in Sweden. Months into his period of detention, he was told by the guards that he was being taken to a new cell, one with fewer restrictions.

“I didn’t do anything, I was just calling for my rights.”

Anas was shocked when he was shown to the cell they intended for him. It was a temporary space usually used for intoxicated people to dry out, complete with a drain in the middle of the room. There wasn’t even a bed. He asked to speak to the officer in charge, and all of a sudden, he was attacked by as many as five guards.

Anas sought to speak with his lawyer, who told him he should call the police. Initially the guards wanted to know why he wanted to speak to the police, but eventually they relented.

Anas asked to see a doctor but was initially refused. When he was allowed to see a medical professional, she told him she was studying to become a dentist. She had someone with her who she said was a doctor, who was studying at the same school.

They checked him and photographed his injuries. Anas is used to injuries from training all the time, but he wasn’t used to this level of pain. He had injuries to his shoulder, his neck, and his ear. As well as the immediate physical impact, the incident meant that he wasn’t able to meet his lawyer to talk about his case and prepare for a hearing.

The authorities weren’t proactive in informing Anas about his rights. It took four months for him to realise that he needed to ask about the book, which lists detainees’ rights.

He made an official complaint. However, the case was closed due to insufficient evidence. The investigation didn’t interview all of the people alleged to be involved. There should have been video evidence of the incident, but it was never produced. Despite this, sequences from the video footage were produced, and it isn’t clear why the video was never relied upon. Instead, it was treated as Anas’ word against the guards. It ultimately came to nothing.

“The hardest part was when they told me that the case was closed because of no cameras. The police didn’t even interview the whole team who was there, so I felt like they were back[ing] each other up.”