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Anorak | BBC Reporter Frank Gardner Offers No Forgiveness To The Last Living Islamist That Shot Him

BBC Reporter Frank Gardner Offers No Forgiveness To The Last Living Islamist That Shot Him

by | 23rd, November 2014

In 2004, BBC news reporter and former Army captain Frank Gardner was shot six times by an Islamist gang. The attack in Riyadh murdered his cameraman, Simon Cumbers. Mr Gardner is in a wheelchair. He spent a year in hospital. He endured 14 operations.

Only one member of that gang, Adel Al-Dhubaiti, is alive. But not for long. He’d just been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia.

Says Gardner:

“He is completely unrepentant. He has never said sorry. He is still in the mindset that he had when he attacked us. So forgiveness is not really an option… It’s not like this man’s parents have written to me or anyone saying, ‘Please forgive him’. No one has apologised…“I don’t want to see this guy. Why would I? What am I going to get from it? The man’s soul is dead… I gather he’s put on weight in jail – he has been eating quite well.”

The attack was calculated to kill:

It all happened quickly. A screech of tyres, a shout in Arabic, and what sounded like a gunshot. ‘Oh bloody hell,’ I thought, ‘not again.’ The memories of the last time I experienced such a cacophony back in 2004 are still vivid. I heard a loud crack and felt something sting my shoulder.  I didn’t know it then, but that first bullet passed clean through, hitting the shoulder bone on the way. I ran, trying to put as much distance as possible between me and the gunman.

For a few happy seconds I thought I was actually going to make it. Then there was another loud bang and I was down on my front on the tarmac, felled by a bullet in the leg.
I realised these men were no casual, have-a-go amateurs, but a hardcore Al Qaeda terror cell.

I pleaded with them in Arabic. They responded by opening fire once more. A gunman stood over me and pumped bullets into my lower back.  I don’t remember it hurting at the point of impact, just a deafening noise each time he squeezed the trigger and a sickening jolt as the bullets thudded into me.

He is haunted by it:

I have this recurring dream. I am sitting down with a group of friends when one by one they start to stand up. Nobody is paying any attention as I grip a nearby table or chair for support and slowly, unsteadily, pull myself up to a standing position. “Hey look!” I shout, “I’m standing on my own two legs!”

“So you are,” they say, or something like that, and we walk out. The sense of relief is overwhelming. In my dream, the nightmare is over. I am not paraplegic after all. The nerves in my spine have somehow miraculously healed and I am “able-bodied” once more. The wheelchair can go to someone who needs it.

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Posted: 23rd, November 2014 | In: News Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink