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.

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