An Iraqi war veteran from Long Island, who was held in an Iraqi jail for three weeks, is ecstatic to be a free man.
“I’m thrilled to be home,” said Alex Antiohos, 32, who lives with is his wife in North Babylon. “I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and ringing in the New Year.”
Antiohos had been working as a security contractor in Iraq, when on December 9, he and two colleagues, were detained over a discrepancy in their paperwork. They were jailed in Mahmudiyah, part of the infamous “Triangle of Death.”
“I was definitely fearful at times,” Antiohos said. “But I was making a concerted effort to suppress my emotions and my feelings in order to ensure that everyone remained calm, and was treated with some sense of dignity.”
He described their prison conditions as “filthy and deplorable.”
The former Green Beret expressed disappointment that the country the United States helped free from the grip of Saddam Hussein would throw the contractors in prison for no reason.
“They are supposed to be our ally,” he said. “One would think they would have handled this situation a little differently, to say the least.”
Antiohos spoke to reporters at the Massapequa Park office of Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.). He credits the diplomatic efforts of Congressman King, with getting him released.
King, who is Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, learned about Antiohos’s dire situation from his wife, who had called the Congressman’s office for help.
“He received virtually no assistance at all from his own government,” King said. “Nobody from the American embassy in Baghdad went to see him at all.”
King wants to know why, and is calling for an investigation.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun