Testimony Tamasha

Will the testimony of a person be admitted in the court of law if he forgets the name of the person whom he claims to be his leader in masterminding a terror plot?

Will a person be sentenced if the only witness does not even take his name or implicate him?

Will any person be implicated if some faceless voice gives contradictory statements?

One may reply with a resounding NO to all the 3 questions, but a Spanish court thinks otherwise. Accepting the evidence of a voice that never utters Roshan Jamal Khan’s name or deposes against him, the Spanish court has disgraced law & justice by convicting him.

Throughout his testimony the sole witness, F-1, makes a statement first and alters it later. In the beginning, when asked for the name of the organisation that he was working for, he replies that it is the same organisation that sent him to Waziristan & Afghanistan for training. He doesn't name the organisation (Testimony Video-1, 13:55). Around 10 minutes later, he is once again asked the name of the organisation. He replies that it is Al-Qaida (TV-1, 24:05).

During the later parts of the testimony (TV-3, 19:15), F-1 says that he informed his French police friend by calling from his mobile phone. Later (TV-3, 1:07:45), he clarifies that he made the call using a calling card that was provided to him earlier and which can be used with his SIM card.

This changing of statements gives rise to the suspicion of F-1 being tutored by the Spanish police before the testimony and being prompted or deliberately being asked the same questions to correct the wrong replies given earlier. The correction of the name of Baitullah Mehsud from Abdullah Mehsud, the remembering of the name of Maulana Maroof and clarifying that Maulana Ashraf is the same person as Maulana Maroof, are some instances of such lapses or rather the truth being blurted out instead of the lie being recited.

When asked of the relationship of Baitullah Mehsud with the organisation that he was working for, F-1 says that the organisation was working under the instructions of Baitullah Mehsud (TV-1, 18:40). A little later, when he is asked the name of the organisation, F-1 says that it is Al-Qaida. This claim flies in the face of NEFA’s video interview of the spokesperson of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, in which Maulvi Omar says that Baitullah Mehsud leads Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and that Al-Qaida has its own administrators & decision makers. The conviction order of the court also mentions this (pg. 10).

The testimony of F-1 is a blatant lie riddled with contradictions and is wholly unbelievable. Never once does Hashim Iqbal alias Ahmad (the protected witness, F-1) mentions Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan nor does he utters the name of Roshan Jamal Khan. So, which terror group has Roshan Jamal Khan been convicted for associating with?

Points to Ponder

1. At the very beginning of the testimony, F-1 says that he arrived in Barcelona from France on 15th January and has the train ticket with him. At another point, he narrates the day-to-day activity from 15th January till the last day (18th January) when the arrests were made. But, narrates incidents of only 15th January, the next day i.e. 16th and the last day, i.e. 18th. What happened on 17th? As usual, he is given a chance to correct his date of arrival later.

2. F-1 claims throughout his testimony that Maulana Maroof knows all the details of the terror plan even as he himself reveals the plan gradually. Whenever asked how he knows about it, he replies that Maulana Maroof told him.

3. At one point, F-1 says that he was aware that his bar acquaintance in France was a policeman whose job involved gleaning information. So, could a member of the biggest terror group of the world be so naïve as to give his mobile phone number to a policeman?

4. F-1 reveals that in the group he was called by his false name while his real name was used in public by his associates. Scratch, scratch! Scratch your head till you become bald.

5. F-1 feared that his family in Pakistan would be killed if he did anything to prevent the terror attack. So, finally, what made him to spill the beans by calling the police? Was the threat to his family over?

6. The threat perception seems to have been felt by F-1 after calling his wife in the evening and the phone call to the French policeman was made a few hours later at night. What factors were responsible during these few hours to lessen the fear of threat felt by F-1?

7. F-1 claims that he worked for his organisation for 3 years – first 1 ½ years delivering money to associates, the next 1 ½ years training in the use of arms and bomb making. At another points, he says that 3 years does not mean 36 months, but could also mean 30 months. How can such type of loose statements be admitted by any court as evidence?

Many, many more anomalies are there in the testimony. All cannot be listed over here. Suffice to say that the trial was a farce.