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.