Aged 17, Lewis Alsamari was conscripted into the Iraqi army. Things went from bad to worse once his superiors discovered his ability to speak English, and Lewis was selected for Saddam's elite, top secret intelligence service, an offer he literally could not refuse. This left him with only one option - to escape from his native land, leaving his family behind him...Going under the wire of the army compound where he was posted, Lewis was shot in the leg, making his escape - which required a gruelling journey in disguise across the desert at night with a group of Bedouin, at the mercy of ravenous wolves - all the more arduous. Against the odds, Lewis survived this trek, made it across the border into Jordan, and eventually sought asylum the UK, where he had spent his childhood.Now he had to work out how to rescue his mother, brother and sister, who had been apprehended by security forces and thrown into jail once Lewis's escape became known. The only thing which could help was money and lots of it, so Lewis fraudulently transferred £37,000 from the accounts of William Hill (where he had a temporary job) into his own bank, and wired it to Baghdad in order to pay the necessary bribes. But, of course, it wasn't quite that simple...Out of Iraq is an exhilarating and terrifying story of one man's escape from one of the harshest regimes of the modern era. It is testament both to the strength of the human spirit and to the extremes we'll go to in order to keep our loved ones safe.
The astounding true story of one man's struggle to free himself and his family from Saddam's Iraq
Lewis Alsamari was born in Iraq and spent a few years of his early childhood in the UK. He is now an actor and recently starred in Paul Greengrass's massively acclaimed film United 93, in which he plays an Al Qaeda hijacker. He now lives in London.
'Riveting' EsquireIn his eighteenth year, Lewis Alsamari was conscripted into the Iraqi army. Once his superiors discovered his ability to speak English, things went from bad to worse. Lewis was selected for Saddam's elite, top-secret intelligence service, an offer he literally could not refuse. Only one option remained - to flee from his native land, leaving his family behind...Making his escape from the army compound where he was posted, Lewis was shot in the leg. A gruelling journey ensued, across the desert at night with a group of Bedouin and at the mercy of ravenous wolves. Against the odds, Lewis made it over the border into Jordan and eventually...Now Lewis had to work out how to rescue his mother, brother and sister, who had been left behind in Iraq and jailed once his escape...The only thing that could help was money - and lots of it.
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