TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Shocking footage shows how UK police officers violently dragged a grieving Muslim father from the hospital bedside of his dying daughter shortly after he had been told her life support was being withdrawn.
The harrowing film from a police body camera obtained by The Mail on Sunday, shows the moment Rashid Abbasi, a 59-year-old hospital consultant, was wrenched away from his critically ill six-year-old daughter by an officer holding his neck.
Abbasi, who has worked in the NHS for more than 30 years, had his legs and ankles strapped together and was wheeled away from his daughter Zainab on a trolley. His wife Aliya, a former doctor, was grabbed from behind, pulled from the bedside and fell backwards on to the floor of the hospital ward screaming.
The disturbing incident took place in a hospital in the North of England that the MoS cannot name for legal reasons. It came after the parents were involved in a protracted dispute with doctors over the care of their critically ill daughter. Medics insisted Zainab should be allowed to die but Mr and Mrs Abbasi fought for further treatment that they were convinced would keep her alive.
In a bedside vigil with his wife Aliya and another relative, Rashid is gently stroking his dying daughter’s arm when police enter the ward.
After several requests for them to leave six-year-old Zainab are calmly refused, Aliya finally stands up to plead with officers for compassion, as captured by the body camera.
Aliya turns to the tallest of the officers to beg for empathy for her grief, asking: ‘Do you have children?’ He says yes.
Police were called to Zainab’s bedside after a complaint about Mr Abbasi’s behaviour.
Rashid and Aliya Abbasi’s daughter Zainab suffered from respiratory problems and a rare genetic illness called Niemann-Pick disease, which meant she was likely to die during childhood.
The bodycam footage filmed in September shows how violently officers forced Mr Abbasi to leave his daughter’s bedside and forcefully removed him from the room.
Following the shocking incident, the hospital trust treating Zainab – which did not withdraw her tube during the police incident – applied to the High Court for permission to withdraw life-support treatment and move her to a palliative care regime. A two-day hearing was scheduled for September 19 and 20 but her condition deteriorated, and on September 15, Mr and Mrs Abbasi made a last ditch attempt to save her life. During two emergency telephone hearings with a judge, Rashid and Aliya pleaded for their daughter to be allowed high doses of steroids.
Their request was refused and at 10.08am the following morning Zainab died with her parents and brothers by her bedside.
Aliya and Rashid passionately believe their daughter was not terminally ill and that more could have been done to save her.
Rashid, meanwhile, remains tortured by the memory of his violent removal from his daughter’s bedside. ‘Zainab had human rights. She wanted to have the closeness and the company of her parents. What happened to her human rights – the rights of a dying child?’