Motive For Association

Born and brought up in a cosmopolitan area of cosmopolitan Bombay, Roshan Jamal Khan did his graduation from the prestigious St. Xavier’s College of Bombay. The area where Roshan grew up has Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Parsis in equal numbers. As such, Roshan never faced any sort of discrimination in his life.

Even during the worst ever riot of independent India in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Mosque, when the rest of India was smoldering, this area remained peaceful. Life went on as usual thereafter, too.

Roshan was largely associated with the travel industry. He has worked for a travel agency in Mumbai and Kuwait. While working for the travel agency in Kuwait, he was given an appreciation letter by the American Embassy for his work. His younger brother has worked for the US consulate in Mumbai as a security officer.

Roshan has six children; all of whom were under 18 and still in school when he was arrested in January 2008. There is nothing that could seemingly influence him to associate with terror groups. Especially, considering his young children – 2 daughters & 4 sons – whose future no father would like to jeopardize by undertaking any illegal or criminal activity leave alone indulging in terror acts.

Roshan Jamal Khan has no criminal past. After his arrest in Spain, the top, two investigative agencies of the Government of India, viz. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anti-Terrorism Squad (Maharashtra), investigated his credentials right from his college days till his travel to Spain. When these agencies did not find anything incriminatory against him, the Government of India cleared his name (Indian Express).

The Spanish police couldn’t produce any evidence to implicate Roshan for associating with terror except for the word of an unknown, protected witness – may be imaginary. No substance was found on his person or at his residence. He wasn’t under any surveillance. His movements were not suspicious nor were they tracked before he was arrested. He was in Spain to explore trade in olives.

Staying in a 5-star hotel where terrorists are holed up cannot be held as a reason for accusing other guests of the hotel for associating with terror. Similarly, praying in a mosque, or attending a congregation in a church, along side a person of dubious dealings cannot be a rationale for associating any person with terror.

It should be noted that no crime was committed. It was only on the basis of a fantasy of a wannabe James Bond that it was surmised that a terror attack was imminent on the Barcelona Metro. Thus, the police supposedly got into the act to foil it.

So, what did the Spanish authorities – the police, the prosecution and the judiciary – impute as motives for Roshan Jamal Khan to associate with terror and thereby sentence him to 8 and a half years?

Were the Spanish authorities subjected to an overdose of the film “Minority Report”?


Punished For Praying

Roshan Jamal Khan, after spending nearly two years in a Spanish prison, has been sentenced for 8 and a half years for praying in a mosque located in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona, Spain ( BBC, CNN, El Pais, El Mundo ). There are no specific charges against Roshan Jamal Khan. Just the mere presence of his among unknown worshippers in the mosque has been held as enough evidence to hold him guilty of associating with terror.

The word of just one unknown witness – maybe imaginary – has been held as gospel truth to send Roshan to prison along with 10 people who were praying along side him in the mosque.

The family of Roshan Jamal Khan is shocked to know that the learned judges of the Spanish Court didn’t take the trouble to consider his background or his immediate past activities before sentencing him for associating with terror groups.

Trade with Spain has proved to be a risky venture for Roshan Jamal Khan who had gone there to explore trades in olives.


(T)error Order

In a pre-trial detention order (Detention Order PDF, pg. 33-40). on 23rd January, 2008, the central court of Spain detained Roshan Jamal Khan on the following grounds (pg. 38) :

a) To ensure his presence during the process of investigation as the risk of flight is rationally inferred;

b) To prevent the concealment, alteration or destruction of sources of relevant evidence for the prosecution;

c) To prevent the risk of the accused committing other criminal acts.

The order further states that in assessing these criteria for detention, the credentials of the accused and his family background has to be taken into consideration.

It can be safely asserted that the above three criteria are not applicable to Roshan Jamal Khan for the following reasons :

a) i. As the 3 month Schengen Visa of Roshan Jamal Khan expired on 1-12-07 before he could complete his work, he applied for extension of it with the concerned authorities to extend his stay in Spain. He had also visited Spain in the year 2005.

ii. He was staying with his brother-in-law, Mr. Amanullah Khan, who is living in Spain since the past 7 years.

iii. The Spanish authorities can impound his passport (which it has not done so far) and he would be happy to stay in Spain as a free man during the process of the investigations.

Considering the above, it can be safely argued that the risk of flight is eliminated.

b) i. The mosque is a public prayer place. Just the mere presence of Roshan Jamal Khan during the raid on the mosque when terror suspects were arrested cannot, by any rationale, associate him with terror organizations.

ii. No explosive material was found on Roshan Jamal Khan or at the place of his residence. Illegal materials found in public places cannot be attributed to any person present at the time of their discovery.

iii. The general charge of being in possession of explosives and associating with terror organizations is simply not sustainable.

In light of the above facts, the fear of destruction of evidence seems farfetched.

c) i. Roshan Jamal Khan is an alumnus of the prestigious St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. The American Embassy in Kuwait appreciated his work while he was a tour officer in Boodai Aviations, Kuwait.

ii. He was born and brought up in one of the most cosmopolitan areas of Mumbai. His father owns a milk dairy, which was established 5 decades ago, in the same area. (Hindustan Times)

iii. Roshan Jamal Khan has no criminal past. After his arrest in Spain, the top, two investigative agencies of the Government of India, viz. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anti-Terrorism Squad, investigated his credentials right from his college days till his travel to Spain. When these agencies did not find anything incriminatory against him, the Government of India cleared his name (Indian Express).

Considering the clean credentials of Roshan Jamal Khan, the apprehension that he may commit other criminal acts is unreasonable.

Despite this the Spanish Government claims that he is associated with terror activities without producing a grain of evidence.

He was kept in custody for 5 months before being presented in the National Court in Madrid. Although, the august court recorded his statement, no charges were leveled against him by the prosecution.

It is feared that Roshan Jamal Khan will be implicated in false cases as his signatures have been taken on several Spanish documents, the contents of which he does not understand. Besides, he has also been given lawyers with whom he cannot communicate.

He is being kept in solitary confinement for nearly a year. The trial of his unspecified crime has still not started. This is a blatant violation of human rights.

No amount of pleading with the Spanish authorities has helped. Roshan Jamal Khan went to Spain for importing olive oil. But, the authorities in Spain converted the symbolic peace plant into an icon of terror.

The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of God


Crime & Punishment - Spanish Style

Presumed guilty until proved innocent. That is what one understands seems to be the law in Spain after going through the letter of its consul-general, Mr. Cesar Alba.

Roshan Jamal Khan, who was detained by the Spanish Police in Barcelona on January 19, 2008 on charges of associating with terror organisations, will be completing a year in jail without trial. (USA Today)

On 30th March, 2008, Roshan’s wife, Mrs. Farida Jamal Khan, along with her brother-in-law, Mr. Mehboob Khan, presented a memo along with a flower bouquet to Mr. Cesar Alba seeking her husband’s release. Mr. Cesar Alba replied on 29th May stating the reasons for the detention of Roshan and assured that the Spanish laws will allow him to present “all the necessary evidence” to prove his innocence.

Outrageous! That’s what one would exclaim. First, Roshan is presumed guilty without being tried. Next, he is expected to present evidences to prove his innocence while being in prison.

Isn’t it a rule of justice all over the world that a person is presumed innocent until proved guilty? Isn’t it the duty of prosecuting authorities to gather evidences to prove a person guilty of a crime?

After his arrest in Barcelona, Spain, the top, two investigating agencies of the Government of India, viz. Central Bureau of Investigation & Anti-Terrorism Squad, investigated his credentials right from his college days till his travel to Spain. When these agencies did not find anything incriminatory against him, the Government of India cleared his name (Indian Express). What could be a more valid proof of Roshan's innocence than the clearance of his name by the investigating agencies of the Government of India? What more evidence does the Government of Spain require to release Roshan?

A recent report in the media regarding an Australian probe claimed that the Australian authorities regret charging Dr. Mohammad Haneef for terrorism. The probe recommends “sweeping changes to the Australian Federal Police, immigration intelligence and the nation’s anti-terrorism laws”.

Compare the Australian attitude with the Spanish authorities’ act of dancing to the tune of some lousy French crooner whose very credibility is doubtful. The Australian authorities regret the arrest of Dr. Haneef despite an incident of terror taking place. On the contrary, the Spanish authorities arrested Roshan on the basis of fantasy of some self-styled James Bond who wanted his 15 minutes of fame.

The imprisonment of Roshan without being proved guilty is a criminal act. It is a crime against humanity. No developed nation would commit such a crime. In fact, the standard of development of a country can be assessed by its treatment of people. And, Spain doesn’t seem to be a developed country. Or else, how can one justify punishment without crime? It’s barbaric, Matador.


Barcelona Blight

2008 was a difficult year. 2009 looked promising. But, the promise did not last long. On 4th January, after spending the whole of Sunday at a friend’s computer customizing this blog, Talha – the eldest son of Roshan Jamal Khan who was detained in Barcelona, Spain – returned home in the evening to repair his own computer.

Working late till night in the cold weather combined together with the stress of getting his father released soon, took a heavy toll on Talha’s health. He experienced terrible spasms at around midnight. Rushed to a nearby hospital, he was admitted in the intensive coronary care unit. After the mandatory medical tests, the doctors are still not sure what went wrong with him.

Two days later, Talha was shifted from the ICCU to the general ward. Still in the hospital, with family and relatives worried, the focus has shifted from getting his father released to getting Talha recover his health.

Barcelona is such beautiful city that one never imagined that it could bring so much misfortune to anyone. May Allah help Talha to recover from his illness soon and end the streak of adversity facing his family.


Matador Mindset

The world’s become a global village. That’s true of the virtual world. But, in reality, people and nations are far apart from each other. The old adage – when in Rome, do as the Romans do – holds true even today.

Here’s some travel advice that would help one avoid getting imprisoned as a terror suspect in Spain.

1. If you are coloured, use fairness cream a month before traveling.

2. Don’t stay in a locality inhabited by people from your region.

3. Don’t mingle with people from your side of the world or even ask for directions or a light; don’t give it either if asked for.

4. If you are from the Indian subcontinent, avoid wearing traditional, ethnic clothes. Wear western outfits.

5. Avoid your religious rituals in religious public places viz. mosque, temples etc. Perform it at your place of residence.

One may well ask what the bases of these suggestions are. Well, here it is; learnt the hard way.

Roshan Jamal Khan has a dark complexion. He did not use fairness cream before going to Spain to import olives.

He was staying in a locality that is inhabited by people from the Indian subcontinent.

Being friendly in demeanor, making acquaintances came naturally to him.

He usually wore “shalwar-kurta”.

One fine morning, he went to a mosque for the morning prayers. And, this was a grave mistake – hope Allah forgives me saying so. A mosque is not a wrong place to be neither is prayer time the wrong time. But, in the eyes of the Spainish police, Roshan was at the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Roshan Jamal Khan was detained after a raid on a mosque in Barcelona and has been languishing in jail since January 19, 2008. His crime - praying along side a few terror suspects who belonged to his side of the world.

Wish he had gone to a bar and chatted up a Spanish bimbo instead. When in Spain, do as the Spanish do.


Olive Branch from Spain

Roshan Jamal Khan went to Spain in September 2007 to explore trade opportunities in olives. But, little did he know that his desire to do business in olives – the branch of which is a symbol of peace – would tag him as a trader of terror and land him in a prison.

Born & brought up in one of the most cosmopolitan areas of Mumbai, Roshan Jamal Khan graduated from the prestigious St. Xavier’s College.

St. Xavier's College
A 4-year stint as a tour operator in Boodai Aviations in Kuwait earned him the appreciation of the US embassy over there besides his employer’s.

US Embassy
After returning from Kuwait, Roshan Jamal Khan established his trading company, Tauheed Overseas. A fitness freak and a connoisseur of food, olive was a natural choice for trade. But, the choice of the region to import it from has proved to be disastrous.

A father of six young children aged between 8 and 17, Roshan Jamal Khan is lonely in solitary confinement since a year. Meanwhile, far away in India, his family awaits a dove to fly in with an olive branch from Spain.