Before Abdusalom left for a meeting with Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ISA) on May 7, he kissed his wife goodbye. It was not his first encounter with agents from the domestic counterintelligence agency, who had called and questioned him previously. Since Maksym S., a Ukrainian convert to Islam, was arrested in December 2019 on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack on a shopping mall in the eastern city of Pulawy, the agency was pursuing other Muslims who may have been in contact with the man.
Abdusalom, who is originally from Tajikistan and asked to be referred to only by his first name to protect his privacy, met the agents in a car parked on a Warsaw street. At first they were friendly, he said. But then they began asking questions about his contacts with Maksym S. and other Islamists operating in Poland. (Surnames of suspects like Maksym are not made public in Polish legal proceedings.) Although Abdusalom said repeatedly that he had seen Maksym S. at the mosque only once, the agents handcuffed him and drove to an unknown location in the capital.